Monday afternoon I went out on the deck to water the plants and saw loads of ugly little caterpillars eating my parsley! I counted over a dozen! I wavered between being irritated that they were eating my parsley and intrigued by what kind of caterpillars they are. I came in and went online, but I had trouble finding a match at first. While site upon site told me about eastern black swallowtails eating parsley, the photos I found didn’t match what I saw. I finally stumbled across a photo of an eastern black swallowtail in its first instar, and that was a match. It’s amazing how much the appearance of the caterpillar changes over time, as these small ones look nothing like what they will look like.
|they already look quite different|
That night, and again the next morning, I cleaned out our caterpillar enclosure that we’d used with the Monarchs. I cut off some of the parsley and put it in jars of water inside the enclosure, bringing in a total of six caterpillars. I didn’t want to bring them all in, since there were so many, but I also didn’t want to leave them to destroy my parsley. The benefit of knowing other homeschool families, though, is that I was able to give the other caterpillars to one of them. However, I had another problem, in that the parsley wilts rather quickly. So I just went out and got a small parsley plant to put in the enclosure with them. Now we’re all enjoying having caterpillars in the house again, and I hope we have success with the butterflies.