Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preparing For Winter

Spicebush Swallowtail (c)2013HVI
That chill is in the breeze; snow is near. This is one lucky little caterpillar. This particular Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus troilus) caterpillar; which was born and raised in my sassafras tree, formed its chrysalis at the corner of my chimney. It started the process on Tuesday (10/16) and finalized the transformation on Friday (10/18). I have noticed that the length of the process varies with the temperature. Colder nights seem to slow them down quite a bit. This caterpillar chose a spot the spend the winter in a fairly open and noticeable spot. That creates a major problem on my porch. It will not make it long enough to turn into a butterfly this spring. That is guaranteed. I saw 2 other Spicebush Caterpillars crawl up underneath my siding earlier last week. They made a better choice.
Why will this one not survive? My Carolina Wrens will not let anything make it to spring on my porch. They will clean up all overwintering critters they may find. they are relentless in their search, too. Very efficient. Don't worry about our little friend, though. I have it taken care of. I keep a little wooden box, filled with leaves and chrysalis on the porch. It is completely wren proof. I have had 100% hatching success with this method, too. I don't go in search of the chrysalis'. I only collect the obvious ones which are out in the open.

Hatch time for the ones I have saved is usually the 2nd week of May.

(c)2013 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c)High Virginia Images All rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. You take some fantastic photos Randy! Thanks for keeping this blog going! I check it often!