More caterpillars….and butterfliesMay 16, 2009
Quick update on our garden caterpillars and butterflies!
The first news is that the original Anise Swallowtail caterpillar sadly died yesterday. Not sure exactly why, but he never made it to pupating and just keeled over, perhaps from the heat. Here’s the little dude, though, who promptly pupated last week after a solid ten days of eating. (It’s a bit hard to see through the Mason jar glass, but that’s a pile o’ skin sitting at the top of the pupa—for some reason this guy hung himself upside down, so the skin didn’t drop after his last metamorphosis. (Usually they hang themselves right-side up, suspended by silk.)
We also discovered these beauties on our passionflower vines. Apparently they’re Gulf Fritillary caterpillars, and come up from South America as far north as the Bay Area. (One website notes that the cultivation of passionflowers in Northern California gardens has helped extend their range further north, which is a cool factoid.) Our passionflowers are growing happily and don’t seem unduly bothered by the several caterpillars eating them, so I’m just leaving them be to turn into butterflies.
And finally, this little injured butterfly turned up in the garden the other day. I brought it in mostly because I wasn’t sure if it was a moth or a butterfly and didn’t want to let it roam the gardens if it was the former. Turns out to be an umber skipper butterfly, another common Bay Area species. I set him back out in the garden, though who knows how that played out….