Monday, August 2, 2010

Raising SwallowTail Butterflys

For the past few weeks I have been raising some Black Sallowtail butterflys in my home.

 I had heard that fennel attracted butterflys and I was planting a butterfly gardren, so I decided to get some!

Little did I know how much it would attract the Black Swallowtail butterfly!

First you get a egg (or in my case, tons of eggs)
They are usually yellow in color and are very tiny

Here they are pretty soon after hatching, maybe right before the 2nd instar. they are only about 1 cm long. Before this they are so small its hard to get a picture without a  macro

The caterpillars have 5 different instars (or stages)
This is at a 2rd or 3rd instar, still not the green/orange color but not as tiny anymore.

Here you can see that the color has changed! This can really happen over night! So far all these pictures happened outside. This was the stage when Mr. Cardinal in my backyard would start stealing my caterpillars! I added a ceramic cardinal out to the garden and that helped a bit.
4th Instar (still has spikes on  head)

In this photo you can see the shedded skin, he has entered the 5th instar and will keep eating until he is ready to from a chrysalis. This was taken in the house.

Green Chrysalis (in the home)
Can you see the small piece of silk he used to attach (this one is attached to a piece of fennel, hence his color)

Brown Chrysalis (in the home)

Please check back soon to see our beautiful butterfly!


Window On The Prairie said...

Wow, that takes me back. I raised swallowtails and monarchs when I was a kid. What a great experience. So neat to watch.

Ashley said...

It's been alot of fun and sure it a learning process!
Next year I plan on planting more plants for them and getting some milkweed as well for the Monarchs... I was thinking of building some sort of cover for some of the plants so we can just do it outside..but protect them from the birds a bit...

Thanks for stopping by, I dont get to many vistors yet..

Caroline Ann Roper said...

This is fascinating, and the pictures are gorgeous!

Ashley said...

Thank you Caroline! its lots of fun, just waiting on the butterfly now!