Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Caterpillar discoveries

So, I was walking through my overgrown garden the other day and discovered some caterpillars on my parsley plant.  I thought it was a Monarch...they look very similar..., but apparently it's the Black Swallowtail.  Monarchs don't eat parsley.
Black Swallowtail 


Close, huh?  The Black Swallowtail has pale green stripes between the yellow/black ones.  (It's white, though, when it tiny.)  As they get bigger, the green really takes over.  I guess it's to camouflage them from being gobbled up in the circle of life.

I brought a sprig of my parsley plant inside with a couple of the caterpillars to watch the life cycle.  We have a butterfly habitat (we've hatched painted ladies a couple times before), so we are now just waiting for them to finish eating and go into the chrysalis.  It's really a fascinating process.

Here they are.  You can guess which one will be hatching first.  :-)  I think the juxtaposition between the sizes is cool.  The big one was just brought in the house on Saturday and it was smaller than the one on the left is now.  It's "The Hungry Caterpillar" book come to life...only they are munching on parsley rather than salami and stuff.

We're leaving on vacation on Saturday, so I guess they will be traveling with us.  I'd hate to miss their metamorphosis.  Well, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a great place to be released once they hatch.   I'll keep you updated.

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