|Tiger Swallowtail on Chives|
Most of you will be familiar with the orange and black Monarch butterfly. Several Monarchs have laid their eggs on Common Milkweed growing in our yard.
|Pair of Monarchs mating|
|Monarch buttercly caterpillar on Common Milkweed|
|Monarch early stage pupae|
|Monarch butterfly late stage pupae|
Another spectacular summer butterfly is the Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes, a large black butterfly with tail-like projections at the base of the wings with white, orange and blue markings. For a photo and more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Swallowtail The host plants for the caterpillars are in the carrot family which includes Queen Anne’s Lace, Dill and Parsley. I am currently watching 2 Swallowtail caterpillars developing on my parsley plant. They started off as little black caterpillars with a white band across the middle, looking a bit like a bird dropping, this is the first instar (phase).
Within 2-3 days of munching on the plants the caterpillars shed their too-tight skin. With each shedding, the caterpillar is larger, colours more vivid and the pattern is more pronounced until it reaches in the final instar. Soon it will leave the parsley to find a suitable spot to pupate.
|Black Swallowtail caterpillar second instar|
|Black swallowtail third instar|
|Polyphemous moth caterpillar|
Several caterpillars were feeding on a large Toadflax plant. They are a species imported from Europe decades ago for control of this invasive plant. http://bugguide.net/node/view/76334/bgimage for a photo of the moth.
|Pandorus Sphinx moth caterpillar|
Final instar, found feeding on Virginia Creeper. I’ve also found one feeding on Wild Grapevine which we have in abundance. For photo of moth check this link http://bugguide.net/node/view/3937
|a tangle of flowers|