Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Caterpillars Galore!

So, I planted a number of Parsley plants around the yard with the end goal being to attract Black Swallowtail butterflies.  Well, once again it worked.  There are at least 8 caterpillars on said Parsley plants and these are the ones that we've been able to spot.  There very well could be others too.
A couple have fallen victim to some predator.  I suspect it was the Wrens, as they raised to clutches of eggs this Spring and Summer.  They seem very keen at spotting and finding insects for their young.
Black Swallowtails caterpillars have a four stage life cycle referred to as "Instar".

The picture above shows a caterpillar in the first instar stage -
The picture above here shows one in the third instar stage -
Once full grown the caterpillar disappears, or so it seems.  Rather, it moves on to find a safe, desirable place to spin into a chrysalis (the pupa stage) where it will remain throughout the Winter.  It will hatch and emerge come Spring.

Since we're on the subject and talking about caterpillars, here the sole Tomato Hornworm caterpillar of the year.  We found this dude on one of our Brandywine tomato plants.  He's been there a while based on it's size.  I had been checking our main tomato garden for these dudes whenever I was out there and I am happy to report that there are none.  I am pretty confident too that there are none.  In years past I've detected them by their droppings, which are dark pellet like and easy to spot.  If you try and look for them in the plants themselves, you'll be there a while and I'm betting with little success.
Anyway, this dude has been picked, like a tomato, and is now housed in one of Emilie's bug containers.  She wants to see if we can get it pupate and then hatch some Spring.  Stay tuned...

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