It’s Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Season Again!

I mentioned on Monday that we have a few new additions to the homestead – Black Swallowtail caterpillars! It’s the first batch of caterpillars this season, and I was so happy to see them. I had been concerned that I might not get any this year because I moved my parsley from pots around my backyard patio to the ground along my front walkway. I hadn’t seen any butterflies, so I thought maybe the parsley wasn’t out in the open enough, it being right outside my front door. But nature being what it is, at least one butterfly found my parsley and laid her eggs. And I get to enjoy this – and share it with you.

I first noticed these little guys on July 2. They’re so beautiful. They’re the only insect-like critter I’ll touch. In fact, I usually pet them everyday. πŸ™‚

3 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

3 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

At this angle, you can see four of them – as well as the fact that this plant is being eaten to the ground (which I don’t mind, in this case).

4 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

4 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

Here’s a closeup of one of the little munchers.

Closeup of a Black Swallowtail caterpillar

Closeup of a Black Swallowtail caterpillar

A few days ago, I saw a few more caterpillars on my other parsley plant. They must’ve eaten enough to get big enough for me to notice them.

Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

The other parsley plant was eaten to the sticks, at this point. There were two caterpillars left on that one, gnawing away at the outer skin of the branches.

2 Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating the skin off parsley stems

2 Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating the skin off parsley stems

I broke off the stem and moved them across the walkway to the other parsley plant, which was still very full and leafy. The larger caterpillar immediately moved off the branch and started munching on leaves. I couldn’t get the smaller one to move off the branch, so I made sure his end of the stem was stuck well into the parsley plant. Unfortunately, by the next day, the smaller of the two caterpillars had died – shriveled up, still on the stem I moved him on. Survival of the fittest at work. 😦

The other caterpillars are quite happy though. Do you see the one hidden in this picture? (Yes, there are two in this photo.)

2 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley (one is partially hidden)

2 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley (can you find the hidden one?)

Look at him munching away!

Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on parsley

Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on parsley

Can you find the five caterpillars in this picture?

How many Black Swallowtail caterpillars do you see?

How many Black Swallowtail caterpillars do you see?

In a few days, they’ll all be gone…off to make their cocoons to turn into beautiful butterflies. I need to plant more parsley so I can get another batch of caterpillars while waiting for these plants to regrow. I love these little babies.

Do you ever get Black Swallowtail caterpillars in your garden? How about Monarch caterpillars?

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4 comments on “It’s Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Season Again!

  1. So special to watch God’s creation respond to the seed you sow in the land day by day. Butterflies are my fav animal. Do you see them as butterflies?

    • I do see the butterflies, but I haven’t see one this year yet. However, I haven’t been outside as much due to the heat, and when I am outside, it’s in the backyard – not out front where the parsley now is.

  2. Yes. We have 2 gorgeous, big Black Swallowtails this year, perhaps from the caterpillars that ate my parsley last year πŸ™‚ No Monarchs, but I have seen their look-alike cousins.

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