Thursday, May 21, 2009


These caterpillars of the black swallowtail butterfly love our parsley. Since we have plenty, we let them eat as much as they want.

After Zack got a bug house at Easter, he moved roly-polys in and out of it for quite some time before he found a caterpillar in the parsley trimmings that were headed for the compost. Then I found another tiny one in the parsely arangement I was keeping on the counter. So, he kept them, feeding them fresh parsley every day or so.

I hate to admit it, but the caterpillars took some abuse. Between Zack forgetting to freshen their parsley and Sammy getting his hands on the house and shaking it, I'm surprised they survived at all. In fact, when one made a chrysalis (we've learned that moths make cocoons and butterflies make chrysalises - and that's even the right plural, I checked!) , I thought maybe he was just giving up on life and nothing would ever emerge! But, soon the other one followed suit.

Today when we left for the library, the two chrysalises looked just like the day before. But when we got home, this lovely butterfly was fluttering about the bug house! We turned him out into the sunny sky and he flew off to find some flowers. We were a little sad to see him go so quickly, but I don't think butterflies live very long... maybe he'll be back to make some more caterpillars on our parsley!


  1. How fun! What a great lesson for the boys!

  2. Sadia - yeah it's neat! My hubby said, "*I* never got to see that when I was a kid!" haha.

    There is good how-to post about this at The Magnifying Glass (a cooperation between Vintage Chica and Blue Yonder; Blue Yonder is Austin based so there is content that fits our area) if anyone is interested in more: