Late last summer there were quite a few caterpillars on my parsley plant on the patio. They were pretty so I researched them and found out they were going to be black swallowtail butterflies. I bought a butterfly habitat and moved the entire plant in it. It was a lot of fun to watch them keep growing (and eating lots of parsley!) they turn into chrysalis. My grandsons and I watched every day to see when they would come out as butterflies. About a week later one of them emerged and it was beautiful! We put sugar water in the habitat for a day to feed it and then let it go. Nothing happened with the others until last week. I discovered that sometimes they wait months for spring.
The boys and I were on the patio and happened to look at the habitat and saw one huge butterfly trying to get out (one smaller butterfly didn’t make it). We weren’t sure how long the butterfly had been out of the chrysalis so we tried to feed it a strawberry. Here is the result! You can see the proboscis going right into the strawberry; we cut the end off to make it easier for the butterfly to get to the juice. It stayed on the strawberry for quite and while and fed. We let it go a few minutes later. There was one chrysalis left and it was moving! It moved for a few minutes but never came out. We waited for days and assumed it was dead. By this time they felt like pets and I was sad. I was getting ready to clean the habitat and put it away when I saw the butterfly inside! I couldn’t believe it. Not knowing how long it had been since it emerged, I let it go right away. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see it finally come out.
Last week the twins and I were having lunch on the patio and saw a black swallowtail butterfly landing on the parsley plant. One of the boys said, “there are no flowers on that plant, Bama, why is she still looking there?” “Keep watching, boys, and see what she does.” She landed four or five times in a five-minute period and laid eggs. “Do you think that is our butterfly?” asked one of the boys?” You know, I really think it was. After we were sure she was not coming back we took a really good look and we could just barely see them. It goes without saying that I took a macro picture. Since I had just planted that parsley (in the same pot and location as last summer) I dug it up and put the whole thing in the newly cleaned habitat. Here we go again! Look for more butterfly pictures in the gallery on this website.