Monday, August 2, 2010

Black Swallowtail

As I said before, we had an infestation of Black Swallowtail caterpillars. We counted 31 when it was all said and done. Marcie and I packed most of them up and gave them to one of her friends who has a butterfly garden. You might have seen the Monarchs from our wedding photos. We missed three of them so we packed them somehow so we decided to see if we could view it changing stages.

To the left, you can see the beginning of the caterpillar's conversion to a cocoon. It grabs onto the stick with it's last legs or something down there and then wraps what looks like fishing line around it's back. From there, it hangs out for what seemed like an eternity. We gave it a couple of hours with no change so we finally decided to go to bed. The next morning, we went do expecting to see the cocoon but still no change. We went to work and when we came home, to the right is what we found. I found on YouTube THIS time lapse video of it changing. I wanted to see it first hand but it will have to do.

The next thing is to see it come out. Evidently when it is ready to come out, it shakes around like a cat in a sack. Eventually the chrysalis breaks and it hangs there till the wings dry. If we can catch that, I'll post the picture.

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