Friday, July 28, 2017

Black Swallowtail Haiku

the caterpillars
disguise mystery

©Mary Lee Hahn

I still haven't seen a single adult black swallowtail anywhere, all summer long. They have found my dill and parsley, however. Caterpillars have appeared and disappeared several times. A couple of weeks ago, they were all over the dill in various stages of growth. I brought in six, excited about watching the ten (TEN!!) I left outside grow up. When I went outside later that afternoon, all ten were gone from the dill, nowhere to be found. Food chain, I assume. I am glad I saved six.

Of the six, three have successfully chrysalized (is that a word?) and two are close -- still eating, but nearing the full-to-popping size they achieve before they reorganize all their body parts so they can fly. The mystery of the changes from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly never gets old.

Caterpillar on dill, top left. Two chrysalises on bottom stick.

Two unrecognizable caterpillars -- top one is greenish, bottom one is brown.

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