Wildlife Wednesdays: Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerges

Last October, my kids found a beautiful Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar, sometimes known as a Parsley caterpillar, in some weeds next to our driveway. I told them they could keep the caterpillar overnight, but we had to let it go the next day since it was late in the season. We found some Queen Anne's Lace and gave it to the caterpillar to eat. It immediately started munching on the plant and seemed comfortable in our butterfly carrier on the screened-in porch.

The next morning we checked on our caterpillar and found that overnight it had turned into a chrysalis. I was a little apprehensive about this. I knew the chrysalis would not emerge until spring. Would it overwinter on our screened-in porch? I wasn't sure, but I knew I had to give it a try. After all, I couldn't just throw the weed into the woods, that would surely mean death for the chrysalis.

So, all winter I checked on the chrysalis daily. I moved it into our unheated garage when the weather got bad (which wasn't much this winter). I worried when we had 80 degree weather in March. Would the butterfly emerge too soon?

Then, on Sunday, I checked on our chrysalis and was amazed to find a beautiful and healthy Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly.

The chrysalis was still intact, so I took some pictures because you can still see how it was anchored to the Queen Anne's Lace. And, it looked really cool.

We all enjoyed meeting our new butterfly friend, took some pictures and then let her go to start a new generation of butterflies for 2012. Oh, by the way, we know she's a girl by the generous amount of bright blue on her lower wings. A boy is mostly black with the yellow spots.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...