Nature Notes: Swallowtail Caterpillars
As soon as we see butterflies fluttering around the garden we start checking the host plants. In late March we found two early instar caterpillars on the bronze fennel.
My children love to watch them grow and check on them daily. They molt often and grow quickly (the caterpillars not the children...although the children do grow like weeds).
Swallowtails tend to wander pretty far from their host plants to pupate. Before they depart they will empty their digestive track. If you observe the frass you will see that it looks different than the normal poop (I will spare you the photograph). This is the sign that your missing caterpillar has gone to find a good spot to make its chrysalis.
In about two weeks we should see a few more of these beautiful butterflies gracing our garden.
|Black Swallowtail on Black & Blue Salvia|