Last summer, we noticed interesting caterpillars in our garden. We looked them up in our butterfly book, and concluded that they were Anise Swallowtails. We took a lot of photos of them, and observed their growth.
And then something came along and ate them.
So this year, I fashioned a protected habitat for the caterpillars. It was fascinating to watch them grow and change. Notice the spikes on this hungry fellow?
This was the final form that the caterpillars took. No more spikes.
Over the past few days, the caterpillars spun silken "climbing harnesses" and attached themselves to branches that we'd provided. They hung like this for a couple of days, and I naturally concluded that they were dead.
I was also sure that I had killed one, when I accidentally touched it. I just knew that I had crushed all of its internal organs. (There's a good reason that I never had kids.)
When we weren't looking (of course!) they shed their skins. The chrysalis sure doesn't look like much does it? Just a dead dry leaf. Nothing to eat here, Mister Predator. Please move along.
We understand that the butterflies might hatch out in as few as ten days. I hope that it happens when we're at home, so that we can see it.
If you want to read much more about raising these beautiful animals, click here.