Elated. Giddy. Happy. Delighted. These are all words that you could use to describe my mood Sunday when I discovered this in my garden.
It’s an Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly larvae! And he has a buddy!
Said buddy was none too pleased to have me poking around while he was feasting on the parsley in my herb garden. These bright orange “horns” on its head serve as the larvae’s defense mechanism, and when it feels threatened, the larvae will rear up and this osmeterium will exude a smelly chemical repellent.
As you might imagine, I’ve pretty much been camped out in my backyard on caterpillar watch these past couple of days. And when I wasn’t doing that I was geeking out on Swallowtail butterflies.
A few weeks ago I shared a photo of an Eastern Black Swallowtail that was visiting my zinnias.
This past week I was also visited by a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly!
Now I know what you’re thinking…Kelly these look exactly the same to me. How can you tell the difference??
I’m so glad you asked!
Looking close in the comparison above, notice in the left image that the Eastern Black Swallowtail has two rows of orange spots on its ventral wing surface whereas the Pipevine Swallowtail only has one row of orange spots. In addition, the Pipevine Swallowtail has a blueish tint to its body and tail.
See? Aren’t you so glad you know that now??
Anyway, first thing this morning, I came out to check on my “cats” and found this guy on the move.
I came upstairs to do some work and then went to yoga. When I got back home I found him here on the underside of a basil stem.
I found his buddy still munching away.
My hope is that I will be able to keep track of them as they grow and then enter their pupa stage. And then it will be a Swallowtail Butterfly watch party to which you are all invited!