Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Black Swallowtail


The bronze fennel seeds freely in my flowerbeds and hosts generation after generation of black swallowtail caterpillars. Often a group of them will gnaw the branches bare, and Felix and I will carry them around the garden settling them on new plants, in a more equitable distribution.

Daisy's been keeping an eye on a chrysalis we brought into the kitchen last week. It hatched this morning, and Giles set it out on the back porch. For a long time there, the butterfly and Bossy, the fat tabby, sat side by side with their beautiful backs to the living room window, oblivious of each other.

11 comments:

Mod Girl said...

Breathtaking!

Catty Ax Lady said...

Stunning! What a miracle.

Polly said...

What a gorgeous photo and I love that your children are experiencing the miracles up close.

I also had to smile at "equitable distribution." For a minute I had a flashback to studying for the bar exam.

Julie said...

What a gift your son has been given. An eye for beauty. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Not So Glamerous Housewife said...

Amazing simple things.

Beverly said...

Amazing pixelated colors on that wing! I have been planting parsley or fennel for the last three years to attract these caterpillars. What a holy thing to take part in. Thank you for this glimpse of beauty.

Celeste said...

Please tell Giles how much enjoyment I got out of this photo. I love all of his photos, but this one is just amazing - to be able to see those colors so close up and so beautiful!

Angela Fehr said...

Beautiful. The cabbage looper we nurtured so carefully has died in the chrysalis - can I live vicariously through you?
http://hangingoutthewash.blogspot.com/2008/07/proper-care-and-feeding-of-noxious.html

Anonymous said...

We had swallow tail caterpillars devouring our carrot tops one year. Then we started planting carrots just to attract them! What we do is take a couple of caterpillars and put them in a vented jar... feed them one handful of fresh carrot tops each day with a sprinkle of water on them. After about a week we are able to catch at least one of them spinning their chrysalis, popping out of the chrysalis, drying their wings, etc.. It's a beautiful and amazing thing to watch... and because we have caught so many, we have witnessed all stages of the transformation. It's amazing!

I had a man at the butterfly garden in Indianapolis tell me that whatever plant you find the caterpillar on is the "perfect" food for that particular species. He told us not to feed anything but that specific plant while in the jar. He was right!

Thanks for sharing,
Heatherj

Anonymous said...

Ooops... forgot to mention the diagonal twig we prop up in the jar for them to spin on!!
Heatherj

Ways of Zion said...

Very very neat!

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