swallowtail larvae on my fennel

Discussion in 'Butterfly / Moth' started by carolyn, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I found a swallow tail larvae on my fennel today as I was out in the flowerbed harvesting parsley. Will it pupate and winter over or is there no hope for this poor little thing this late in the year? I could move it to the greenhouse after it pupates, but I think that isn't really going to help it if it needs to fly south. Any advice?
     
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    The late season caterpillar will spend the winter in it's chrysalis so there really isn't anything you need to do for it. They have been doing it for thousands of years and have it down to a science. ;)

    Monarchs fly south but I don't think the Swallowtails do.
     
  4. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I'll watch and see what happens then. I haven't ever seen a caterpillar this late in the season before. I wondered as cold as it gets here, if it wouldn't survive the winter hanging on the plant.
     
  5. kathyd

    kathyd In Flower

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    Carolyn, I also recently found a swallowtail caterpillar. Mine was eating the parsley. I hope he makes it through the winter. We had very few butterflies in my area this year. The most I saw was at the end of the season near the Jersey shore.
     
  6. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    One question comes to mind..... what did butterflies/caterpillars do before humans came along? They developed a means of survival.

    Butterflies that are in their range know how to adjust to whatever the weather is in that range so I wouldn't think the Swallowtail pupa will have any problems making it through winter.

    If you put it in a greenhouse and it pupates then you have to make sure you have the right plants in there for it to feed on and you need to have the correct host plants so it can lay eggs (that is dependent on whether you have both male and female of the species) and the proper conditions for the next generation to continue. The general lifespan of an adult butterfly is just a week or two, so you won't be able to keep it until spring.

    For most butterflies, in the chrysalis is the only way they can hibernate and make it through the winter. Some species do over winter as adult butterflies and can be found rolled up in dead leaves on the ground, yet another reason for not raking up the leaves and burning them or throwing them out or in the compost before spring. ;)
     
    eileen and Karrma like this.

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