Last week I noticed a pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor) flying around the pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa). As I suspected, I later found these eggs. Some of them are beginning to turn dark, and I expect to see tiny caterpillars soon.
I also recently noticed a black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) hovering around the fennel, and later found tiny white eggs. At first glance, this photograph may look like black specks on green foliage. However these are actually 3-day-old caterpillars.
This is a close-up of one of the caterpillars, which is about 1/8 inch long.
I’ve found that butterfly eggs often disappear when left outside, and I assume they’re delicacies for several creatures. I often bring the eggs inside, partly to increase their survival rate, but mostly to enjoy watching them become adult butterflies. It’s a fascinating process, and I wish everyone could have the experience. It’s relatively easy, and a great summer activity for kids and adults alike. My tips for raising black swallowtails may be helpful.
I’d be glad to know what butterflies you are seeing. I’m especially interested to know if you’re seeing monarchs. If you live locally and would like a caterpillar or two to raise, let me know – I sometimes have extras.