Found this guy on my carrots - eastern black swallowtail caterpillar


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Last night I found this guy munching on my carrot tops:

597VrjA.jpg


This is a fifth instar eastern black swallowtail caterpillar that I placed on some parsnip thinnings and brought in. After the kids had a good look (they were in their pjs so didn't get to go back out) I went back out to look for more. I now have a a few third instar and a forth instar caterpillar plus several eggs. At least two of the eggs hatched since being brought in.

The kids and I will keep these in a bucket with parsnip and carrot greens to grow out and watch then release when they hatch / emerge as butterflies.

I started two store bought carrot tops in water thinking they will help provide fodder for these gluttonous monsters.
 
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If you have parsley or dill, those are their main food sources. It should be early enough that they will hatch this year but black swallowtails can take months to hatch. W wintered over 9 last year in my shed and released them in April. Good luck!
 
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@roadrunner I've read that Rue is one of the best host plants for these guys. I plan on putting some in when I really start to tweak the landscaping here. I also think a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is in our future as that is the host for the tiger swallowtail and there are a bunch of those flying around.

The caterpillar in the original photo has emerged from the chrysalis as a butterfly and flew off. That happened 4 or 5 days ago.

But we found more on the carrots and have adopted them as short term pets... 13 in chrysalis, one hunting for a place to hang, one small caterpillar. We've stopped bringing anymore in.
 
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