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Berkeley's Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars and Butterflies

Kathryn and I started raising anise swallowtail caterpillars a few summers ago. Not on purpose, really. I made the mistake of rescuing one from some fennel that I had cut in the back yard, and decided to bring the caterpillar and some fennel inside so that I could watch it for a while. Well, before long I had brought in 2 or 3 more, then 20 or so. Watching these caterpillars eat (and eat and eat and eat), crawl, wave themselves around, and, especially, change their coats and finally their entire bodies is, surprisingly, very relaxing and satisfying.

The condo, nursery, bassinet, pupa pad, and repurposed plexi enclosure...

Tools...

Time for chow...

Beware store-bought food!

The preferred foods...

Convergence...

Eggs! Pics, and vids of movement within.

Hatching and Newborn...pics and vids

Reasoning with a youngster...

Odd coloration of a caterpillar...

Pumpkerpillars...

Twins...

A tiny wasp larva intervenes...

Don't toss out that drowned cat!

Silk...

Frass...

Something there is in a fennel plant that loves a caterpillar egg...

Cats can be a handful...

Applying low voltage...

Molting--shedding the skin and head capsule, and mandibles!

Time to roam...

Contortion...spinning the silken harness

It's pupating where??

No harness? Stop worrying...

What is that weird thing?! Spiracles, silken attachment points

Dunno--that pupa looks sort of dead...

Emergence...pics, vid.

The butterfly...

Girl or Boy?

The fabulous flying machine...

Full Span...

The antennae...

The proboscis...

Do caterpillars "see"? The ocelli... New!

Close-up

Home-feeding a butterfly...

Lifecycle timeline...

Lepidopteran Links...


Comments, Questions, Corrections

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