Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eastern Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars

My last post on Monday showed two really tiny Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars that I discovered in a pot of mostly-gone-to-seed parsley. I was so surprised!! I normally only have swallowtail caterpillars in the spring. Here are a few more pictures of how fast they're growing:

Caterpillars on Monday, Aug 2, 2010

Just 24 hours later on Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010. They are significantly larger and instead of looking like wiggly black bumps, they are starting to become more yellow as they stretch out and grow larger and longer.

By Thursday, Aug 5, they were at least twice the size they were on Monday. The parsley is in a pot with a Stokes Aster (stokesia) that wasn't doing well in the garden (too dry) and was transferred to a pot to recover. Note to self: transplant the stokesia to a moister spot!!

I love this picture because the caterpillar is so busy chowing down on the parsley. What looks like a green antennae popping out of its head is just a piece of parsley it was shoving into its mouth as fast as possible. I think there's a distinct possibility my two teens might be caterpillars in disguise.... My 6'5" 18 yr old tears through food like every meal is his last and my daughter came home from a week at the beach 1/2" taller!


  1. Still jealous! So far I've only seen one swallowtail and one monarch in our garden.

  2. I haven't seen any monarchs but I know I will when my biggest patch of milkweed blooms. It could be that they've visited and I've just missed them! I have tons of swallowtails! Try planting lantana, zinnias, agastache, butterfly bush, coneflowers, salvia, phlox, and joe pye weed. They also love Rose of Sharon. Those are the plants I see them on every day.

  3. Your swallowtails are Black Swallowtails. We grow enough of them on bronze fennel that Meg brings them to her second grade class and every kid can have his own to raise. And they are local butterflies.


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