Can you find the critters in the below photos?
We planted (4) Italian Parsley plants this past Spring and they did fantastic. As a matter of fact, with the mild weather we've been having the plants are still doing fine. Since we have more than we'll ever use I've begun feeding it to our rabbits, who seem to enjoy it too.
Yesterday afternoon I went to do just that, pick some parsley for the bun-buns, and was pleasantly surprised to find (5) Black Swallowtail caterpillars in their various stages (instar) of growth/development.
Needless to say the rabbits didn't get to dine on parsley.
From what I can tell, keeping in mind that I'm no expert, the top and the bottom pictures show caterpillars that are in their Third Instar Stage. The two pics in the middle show them in their Second Instar Stage.
Honestly, I think these dudes are a little behind in their development. However, soon they will spin their chrysalis and remain in that state throughout the long, cold winter for ~8 to 9 months until they emerge as beautiful Black Swallowtail butterflies!
Truth be told, we plant the Parsley and sometimes Fennel and Dill, for one main reason - in the hopes of attracting these caterpillars, honest! We do not use these herbs to cook with at all.
So, what I plan on doing next planting season it to plant more parsley and to spread their locations out throughout the yard. These four are all planted side by side. However, it worked just the same!