Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Caterpillar to Butterfly

The one Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus troilus) chrysalis that I saved from the Carolina Wrens last fall; became a butterfly today. I had 3 chrysalis' placed around my deck. Before I knew what was going on, 2 disappeared. I took the one that was formed on my chimney and placed it in a little wooden box. I filled the box with leaves and placed a rock on top of it; to keep the wrens out. The box was outside on my garden table all Winter.

One day, last week I noticed that some Spicebush Swallowtails were beginning to fly, so I put the chrysalis in a plastic plant pot and put an onion sack on top. Again this was wren protection. Today 5/18/11. the Butterfly emerged from its chrysalis. It is apparently to cold for flight and as of 8pm the butterfly is still holding on to the little wooden box.
I am glad that at least one out of last years brood that fed on my sassafras tree completed its cycle. The photos in this article are all of the same caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. I actually saw this caterpillar climb to the corner of the chimney and begin the process.

I wish that I could have saved the other 2; but they were consumed, before I knew what was happening. I have 8 Promethea Moth cocoons in the same sassafras host tree. I know that the woodpeckers and chickadees got a few of them over the winter. Some of them feel as if they are still all right. I guess that I will find out; if it ever warms up.

The Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)

Posted by High Virginia Outdoors       Photos by High Virginia Images

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