Rearing Black Swallowtails
Thursday, August 12, 2010
cortneyandjon in learning, nature, raising butterflies

Two weeks or so ago I clipped parsley from the overgrown plants on our deck and stuck the bouquet in a glass of water, hoping to find use for it over time (the parsley has been very happy this year for sure). Then, on Monday of this week, I decided that we'd gotten as much use out of it as we were going to and went to throw out the remaining stalks. Imagine my surprise at finding a very fat bright green and yellow caterpillar perched right on top of my parsley in my cup in my kitchen. He must have come in on the large bunch nearly two weeks ago and has been munching away ever since (I must say, the bunch did seem significantly smaller, but I hadn't paid much attention).

At his current size and appetite we decided that replacing him on the already pared plants outside would be the end of our parsley crop for the year, and in fact a quick check of the outdoor plants revealed his two brothers or sisters on the now much-munched outdoor plants. Not willing to give up my plants or the learning opportunity waiting to be grasped, we brought all three little buggers inside and made them happy with clipped parsley (organic from the store) and sticks inside large wide mouth Ball canning jars. They could have picked better timing, though—looks like they will have to go on vacation with us next week.

Shall we name them Larry, Curly Parsley, and Moe?

The orange horns are a stinky warning to those who might bug him, but we bugged him anyway and brought him inside. The other two were far more mellow about using the horns, but this guy was feisty.

Here are two of the cats, each in a different phase; the one on the left is much bigger and greener and is in the final caterpillar stage while the one on the right will molt one more time.


We'll keep you posted on their progress.

Article originally appeared on Cortney and Jon Ophoff's Family Site (
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