Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Invasion Of The Black Swallowtail Caterpillars.

This happens every year. Caterpillars feast on my parsley. When they finish off the parsley, they move on to the nearby fennel. After shooting the pictures, I did a little research on caterpillars since there looked to be several different types here. They're all Black Swallowtails in different stages of their life cycle. There's a little black one at the top right with a white patch. This is the first instar stage.
Not to worry. They'll never eat all the parsley I have.
The black one top right is the second instar stage.
The black one on the left is the third instar stage.
Instar refers to the developmental stage of arthropods on their way to sexual maturity. Caterpillars will molt several times as they outgrow their exoskeleton. Black swallowtails have 5 instars between hatching from the egg and time of pupation. The number of instars varies among butterfly species.
The big one in the center with more green on it
is a full-grown caterpillar. I think. Maybe I should get one of my cages and place it over my parsley plants with the caterpillars. If they would pupate inside, I could watch when the flutterbies emerge.


Anonymous said...

Very. Cool. Pics.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you, Anony.