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Thread started 21 Jul 2013 (Sunday) 14:50
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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

 
shinksma
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Jul 21, 2013 14:50 |  #1

My better half had put a parsley plant out in the yard to get some rain for a few days, and it also picked up some eggs that turned into larvae from a Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), a.k.a. Parsnip Swallowtail - they like to eat plants of that family (carrots, parsley, parsnip, etc). The parsley had been moved into the screened-in pool area, and was therefore less prone to birds picking off the caterpillars.

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Here it is annoyed I moved the parsley leaf a bit - the bad-taste-scent making glands are deployed as a defense mechanism:

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And a bigger one (almost twice the length of the above specimen, and twice as fat), that has lost the black spikes and is closer to the chrysalis stage:

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And today (one day later), here is the big one at the early stage of forming a chrysalis (technically in the pre-pupa stage, I think):

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Curiously it had moved to the parsley plant in the next pot...

I will be monitoring over the next few days as things progress - pupal stage lasts for 9-18 days according to the U of F IFAS site. If I remember to keep looking...

shinksma

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SJC ­ from ­ VT
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Jul 21, 2013 15:48 |  #2

Great shots! And thanks for the education...always learning on this site!


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Jul 21, 2013 16:41 |  #3

Closely related to the anise swallowtail we have on the West Coast. Your last photo shows a parasitic wasp, which you'll have to get rid of if you want a butterfly. Explained here: https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1303886

9-18 days for the pupal stage seems short. My specimen has been a chrysalis for seven weeks. Some in this species go into diapause and don't emerge as butterflies until the next year or even later.


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shinksma
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Jul 21, 2013 17:06 |  #4

OhLook wrote in post #16140859 (external link)
Closely related to the anise swallowtail we have on the West Coast. Your last photo shows a parasitic wasp, which you'll have to get rid of if you want a butterfly. Explained here: https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1303886

9-18 days for the pupal stage seems short. My specimen has been a chrysalis for seven weeks. Some in this species go into diapause and don't emerge as butterflies until the next year or even later.

Ah, I was wondering is that was a parasitic wasp or similar.

Hmm, I guess I'll remove it, even though there are plenty of Black Swallowtails around. I would like to follow this particular specimen.

According to the UF site I referenced, over-wintering the pupal stage can take longer, but mid-year (like now) it is only 9-18 weeks. I'm quite happy to be corrected with better info, though:

the pupal stage nine to 18 days (except for overwintering pupae)

http://entnemdept.ifas​.ufl.edu …ern_black_swall​owtail.htm (external link)

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shinksma
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Jul 23, 2013 08:40 |  #5

Just like OhLook, I missed the stage of chrysalis formation when the skin peels off. I got some shots this morning of a nice and green chrysalis, but missed that critical stuff yesterday - life tends to interfere with such things...

I'll post more photos tonight, if I get a chance.

shinksma


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shinksma
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Aug 08, 2013 22:10 |  #6

OK, so I didn't post anything that night a couple weeks ago, but instead here are a few shots over the last couple of weeks, culminating with the brand new butterfly struggling to get that last piece of wing out of the the old chrysalis "shell":

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All with T3i, 100mm 2.8 macro, various manual exposures (typically 1/30 sec or so to try to capture a bit of the ambient light). ISO400, f/13, tripod mount, 2 sec timer. Usually early morning or early evening, since I do have a day job - which is how I missed the escape-from-chrysalis sequence today.

I have no idea whether he/she will succeed in freeing that stuck wing - I just checked and it is still stuck in there, and it was not much different 10 hours ago when my fiancee alerted me with a cellphone pic of the "almost completely out butterfly". And the wing looks broken to me - but I'm not an expert.

So he/she might be lizard/bird bait in the morning.

A butterfly with broken wings is falling by your side
The ravens all are closing in and there's nowhere you can hide

Bonus points if you get the reference without using Google.

btw, that would be an 18-day chrysalis stage for this specimen - right at the upper end of the estimate from UF's website for this time of year.

shinksma


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Six ­ Fifty ­ B
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Aug 08, 2013 22:24 as a reply to  @ shinksma's post |  #7

Edger Alan Poe




  
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OhLook
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Aug 08, 2013 23:06 |  #8

They usually crawl out quickly once the shell breaks along the weak joints. Can you use some small tool to cut away the part of the shell that forms a trap? I'm afraid that by this time the butterfly probably has a wing that won't expand.


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shinksma
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Aug 09, 2013 15:47 |  #9

Six Fifty B wrote in post #16192954 (external link)
Edger Alan Poe

Nope.

I can't even think if there is an obvious link between EAP and the referenced "couplet".

Oh, and "couplet" is a minor hint too.

Anyway, OhLook, did your chrysalis ever mature, or is it perhaps a failed stage?

shinksma


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Aug 09, 2013 18:43 |  #10

shinksma, mine was parasitized and never became a butterfly. I put an update in the thread in the Macro forum.

Have you rescued yours? It shouldn't be difficult. The poor thing will die of starvation and dehydration if it can't reach food.


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shinksma
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Aug 10, 2013 09:29 |  #11

OhLook wrote in post #16195150 (external link)
shinksma, mine was parasitized and never became a butterfly. I put an update in the thread in the Macro forum.

Have you rescued yours? It shouldn't be difficult. The poor thing will die of starvation and dehydration if it can't reach food.

It was gone yesterday after I got home from work, so I hope it managed to free itself and is now happily sailing on a breeze, past a field of barbed wire trees...

Another random reference...

shinksma


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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars
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