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Black Swallowtails

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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Black Swallowtails
    Posted: 17 September 2021 at 01:49
Lori and I have had lots of Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)caterpillars on our potted parsley this summer. All have fallen prey to the birds . This time, we brought the parsley inside. Our five hungry house guests have more than doubled in size over the two days inside.

Here are some shots from yesterday...

1. Three in a row


2. Not much left on this stem


3. From the top


4. Hanging in there


All with A7R4 + SEL90M28G

TFL... Brian


Edited by bms44974 - 18 September 2021 at 04:22
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2021 at 02:13
Great photos. Hope they left some for you...

Look forward to seeing them spin cocoons, and then emerge as swallowtail butterflies.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2021 at 02:41
Thanks, Joe. We can always buy parsley . Swallowtails are harder to come by. We are looking forward to watching them pupate.

More to come...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2021 at 19:07
Great! Keep us posted please
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2021 at 04:47
Well, you gain some and you lose some...

There are at least 3 large caterpillars missing from the parsley!

We found one crawling up the corner molding in the sun porch and, now back on the parsley, it is wandering everywhere looking for ????

We moved the pots (and what's left of the parsley) into the kitchen where were would be more likely to find any more that go AWOL.

During the move, I noticed what at first glance looked like just another piece of caterpillar . It was not caterpillar .

5. first-instar stage


Looking a bit closer...

6. another!


7. highly cropped!


Not exactly why I got the A7R4, but...

TFL... Brian

P.S. we turned the sun porch upside down and have yet to find the runaways.

P.P.S. a bit more research proved that these are black swallowtails, not tiger swallowtails as originally posted.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2021 at 00:28
We found one of the runaway caterpillars! It had gone down the wall, circumnavigated the sun porch (about 25 feet) and made a chrysalis behind the couch.

8. One stray found


Having one still missing, Lori and I decided to let the two small parsley plants recover...

9. Remains of the day


... and brought the big pot in from the front porch.

10. Fresh feast


As you have likely guessed, it was already host to quite a few caterpillars.

11. A small one (about 1cm)


12. Another slightly larger (starting to change color)


After relocating the larger ones from the small parsley pots, I built an enclosure to keep the herd under control.

13. Lori wrapping the enclosure in tulle


The very next day we found one cruising for a good spot.

14. Looking for that perfect spot


Once in a good location, it went to work.

15. Anchor left


16. Anchor right


17. Two days later...


We now have four chrysalides!

I've been reading up on how to overwinter them so that there are flowers for them when they emerge.

TFL... Brian

A7rIV; A7rII; A6500; A77; SEL2470Z; SEL90M28G; SEL100400GM; SELP1650; SAL70300G; CZ1680; LA-EA4
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2021 at 02:40
Fascinating continuing story of their life cycle.
Cant wait to see the butterflies emerge.

If there aren't any flowers available for the adults to feed on, you could Google a recipe of sugared water like they feed them on in butterfly houses in zoos.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2021 at 03:37

18. The young and the old

A7R4+SEL90M28G

TFL... Brian
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2021 at 07:31
Fascinating story.
I would have given up on my parsley to follow this process.
Looking forward to the next steps.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2021 at 21:30
I had removed the memory card from the camera to process #18 above...

30 minutes later, I returned to put it back and found this

19. Chrysalis emerging


There was a lot of energy expended wriggling out of its old skin.

20. What's going on down there?!


While it was happening, it looked like the chrysalis was being painted over the caterpillar. Reviewing the sequence of shots, I discovered that the chrysalis was inside the old skin and shedding it during the process.

21. Finally free of its old skin


Time elapsed between 19 and 21 was 17 minutes.

TFL... Brian

P.S. I hope to be ready for the beginning for the next one.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brian33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2021 at 19:18
Wow! Amazing documenting, Brian! Caterpillars happen to be one of the rare bugs that don't gross me out - for some reason I had a caterpillar as a pet when I was a child - and so these pictures bring back memories, even if the one I had was a little different. Very neat photos especially when you see the green, yellow and black up close like on shot number 2.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Harm vb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2021 at 20:20
Great topic!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 September 2021 at 00:19
Thanks, Brian & Harm!

Lori and I have gladly sacrificed a lot of parsley to the caterpillars and learned a lot about their life cycle in the process.

We have two almost ready to form chrysalides. When ready, they enter a "wandering phase" where they try to get away from their host plant and find a safe place to pupate.

Black swallowtails can vary the color of their chrysalis to camouflage to their surroundings. We have noticed this first hand as those that have formed in the parsley are very difficult to locate.

I have some close-up filters arriving soon to enable less cropping on the photos.

More to come

Cheers... Brian

P.S. Not my best photographic efforts, but documenting the process is quite rewarding.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 October 2021 at 00:46
I had been watching this one all day.

22. before


23. after


all within a 2h window (and I missed it!)

TFL... Brian
A7rIV; A7rII; A6500; A77; SEL2470Z; SEL90M28G; SEL100400GM; SELP1650; SAL70300G; CZ1680; LA-EA4
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