There she is! My Spicebush Girl! I found her when I was mowing the lawn today. I think she lost her “tails” – you know, the points at the ends of the wings that are swallowtail distinctive. She also seems a little tired as I was mowing at the end of my driveway and had to run back to the house to find my camera and then all the way back out and she was still alit. I bet she has some stories to tell…
Posts Tagged “spicebush swallowtail”
While we were away last weekend, our Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly emerged from its chrysalis. I think I saw it flirting about high among the tree branches last evening. I’m taking my camera out on periodic butterfly patrols throughout the day. I need that photograph and I miss my butterfly.
Tomorrow we leave for our grand adventure! This is a vacation totally planned by IHA, and the girls and I are completely clueless about our destination. As always happens when you mention that you are going on vacation, people ask, “Where?” I think they are a bit surprised when the answer is “I don’t know.” Everyone thinks this mystery vacation is really cool and a number of people have mentioned how they would just love their spouse to help with planning a vacation let alone planning an entire thing. Now, with all this anticipation and having piqued a lot in interest in where we could be going, there could be some repercussions on IHA’s reputation if this turns out less than fantastic. Which I know that it won’t though because we will have fun anywhere as long as we are not camping. Which we aren’t camping, are we, IHA?
Now, I’m having a really hard time telling if anyone is interested in my spicebush swallowtail chronicles but I’m going to keep at it because I think it will be fun to look back on these posts next year. Yesterday, caterpillar #1 turned into its chrysalis. The girls even saw it happening though I was at work. They saw its last molting when that yellow “skin” came off from the previous phase and they saw it spin the strings that attach it to the blueberry bush. How cool is that? Here is what he looks like now. Seriously — this guy knows how to mimic a leaf:
I worry that he is going to bake out there in the sun everyday, but I’m going to trust he knew what he was doing when he picked that spot. I can’t find caterpillar #2 right now. I think he might be in that yellow phase somewhere. I think he may have also left his spicebush. Maybe he is looking for a cooler location for his change of life?
I was hoping to be able to write some posts to publish while I was away but that didn’t really work out. I haven’t even learned how to moblog yet, though I think IHA can post from his phone to his blog so if we have time, we’ll let you know where we are. Have a great weekend everyone!
Jul 14 2008
One of my Spicebush Swallowtail guys has moved to the blueberry bush and turned yellow.
He is currently only attached at the bottom and maybe there are a couple of fibers there at the top too now that I’m looking closely. To put things in prospective here he is on his bush. He really isn’t all that big. His cohort is still in the looking-like-a-snake-living- in-a-curled-up-leaf instar stage. I guess metamorphoses don’t happen overnight.
I have no idea how long it takes for the complete transformation to chrysalis, but I hope that nothing happens to him and we get to find out .
We only have 2 more days before we leave on our mystery vacation. I asked IHA to check and see if there are any yarn shops where we are going, and, indeed, he has confirmed that we will be near one. Yay.
We have a pair of spicebush swallowtail larvae living on one of the spicebushes I bought at the Earth Day Conservation District plant sale this spring which, of course, are still not planted.
The spicebushes are the ones on the middle step and the caterpillars live on the one on the lefthand side.
The same day that we had our photo session at home with our little guys, we went for a hike at Sessions Woods where we encountered a biologist in the parking lot just waiting to show someone the larvae in the photo above. He told us that in the earlier instar, the larvae is “disguised” as bird poop. The caterpillar goes from being something yucky and seemingly inedible to being something that looks super scary to its potential predators. (I guess they are supposed to look like snakes, but I think they look rather cute myself and I certainly do not think that snakes look cute.) We are not at this stage yet, but the pupae is a leaf mimic, and the adult butterfly mimics a poisonous blue swallowtail butterfly. Evolution is just amazing, isn’t it?
During the day, they curl a leaf around them so I had to have a “volunteer” to hold the leaf so I could take photos. Any guesses on which agent is in the above photo?
This is another example of the kind of wildlife I like to see in my garden (and, indeed, the reason I bought the spicebushes). If you look closely at the bush you can certainly see that they have eaten quite a few leaves, but unlike the deer, they are sharing and they have not eaten the whole entire bush leaving nothing behind for the rest of society. (Yes, can you tell that I am still bitter about the deer? I don’t even think I have started here about our woodchuck yet – another very selfish little critter!)
So just to show you that I do still have some flowers growing in my yard, here are a few more photos from today:
We still can’t remember what this day lily is called. If anyone knows, I wouldn’t mind a little reminder.
Here is the Red Volunteer which I write about all the time. These are truly wonderful, I highly recommend them. Today was just our first day with flowers, but they last an entire month. Well, the flowering lasts an entire month, each flower still only lasts for a day.
I don’t remember what this one is called, but it is a different kind of lily, not a day lily. but possibly an Asian lily. It grows from a little bulb and the foliage all dies off after it flowers. The deer really like this one too.
This one is just peachy, but I can’t remember its name either. My favorite thing about this one is that the petals are so thick. It is hard to describe, but this is one solid flower!
I meant to just write a quick thing about the spicebush duo, and now it is getting late. I have a lot of blog posts planned though. I have some dyeing stuff to write about and my sock knitting is actually progressing! I also have a trademark update and next week is our mystery vacation! Only IHA knows where we are going. I am really enjoying the unknown. I think it is because I can’t really worry about it since I have no clue where we are going except that it is less than a 6 hour drive. The girls, on the hand, are completely losing their minds and are trying to figure out where we are going and begging daddy for more info constantly. He better be deleting his computer history!
Thanks so much for visiting and have a great day!