I have often seen these beauties on my parsley, dill or carrot plants and in fact I usually plant extra dill just for them. We really enjoy seeing the beautiful caterpillars but I have never seen where they go to pupate. I have looked but never seen that UNTIL TODAY!
I was pulling weeds and cutting off the seed stalks on the Hostas and I saw what I thought was a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on one of the seed stalks. I thought "oh the poor thing can't eat that, I'll re-locate him to the parsley which is right next to the Hosta. Well he seemed to be attached to the stalk and then I realized that I could not see his head and there were some silk strands attaching him to the stalk.
I googled pictures and this is called a pre-pupa. I am so excited to have actually found one and now that I know where it is I can watch it develop into a chrysalis and take pics of course. I folded a Hosta leaf over him to hide him from birds.
restless , I don't want you to miss this thread since I know how you love these guys too.
We went out for pizza and when we got back I checked "my" caterpillar and look what I found. This is 5 hours after I first saw him as a pre-pupa.
Isn't this SO cool???
I just Googled it and it said that the outer skim drops off and this chrysalis is inside. It will be either green or brown depending on where it is attached. I will look for the skin on the ground. It also said that the butterfly does not emerge for 1-2 weeks but I will check it again in the morning.
I looked at the pupa every day and on day 8, I noticed that the color was changing and I even saw the pupa move. I looked each day but no butterfly. Today is day 10 and I looked closely and saw that the pupa was split and this was left. The butterfly was gone. I missed it. Darn.
The chrysalis will change color and go a bit clear before hand. The caterpillar pupating into a chrysalis is quite dramatic. The skin splits open, and the chrysalis writhes and wriggles and pulsates and works the old caterpillar skin down its sides. At some points, the chrysalis is writhing around so violently, it's amazing that it is still connected to the plant. It's a dramatic process. (Plenty of great videos on YouTube of this, which is how I saw it.)
As a point of interest, I have observed Swallowtail Caterpillars on my plants eating their shed skins. A chrysalis won't be able to do that, so you should be able to find the skin in your plant near the chrysalis or on the ground.
you should be able to find the skin in your plant near the chrysalis or on the ground.
I looked all around but didn't see anything but the chrysalis is on a hosta plant so the skin would have fallen into the plant which is a lot of leaves, spider webs and other assorted detritus so I couldn't find anything and I didn't want to rip the plant apart or dislodge the chrysalis so I gave up.
I also watched those videos on YouTube. They are amazing.
Well restless I was just in the garden and I have a short row of dill which is flowering right now. I was looking closely at it for caterpillars and I found a shed skin! I have never seen one before but this year apparently is a good one for discoveries. It was mostly brown and dry but I could still see some stripes.
I relocated 9 caterpillars from the Dill up to the parsley plant at the house. I was afraid that they would pupate on weeds in the garden and I would pull them out accidently.
Also at some point in the Fall the chrysalis do not hatch into butterflies and they will overwinter as chrysalis. I don't want that to happen in the garden since I do roto till in the fall before I put the garden to bed under a thick layer of straw.