Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Polydamus Swallowtail sighting! And laying!

Today we watched a Polydamus Swallowtail lay eggs on the Dutchmen's Pipevine!

How grand!

To top it off, I inspected another pipevine and found a lot more eggs. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but the Polydamus is unique among butterflies in that she lays her eggs in bunches, rather than singly and scattered. The caterpillars move together in bunches, too. The reason for this is not known for certain, but one theory is that they are trying to appear like a single, much larger creature, to make them less appetizing for predators.

Judi's, of course, don't need to worry about predators: They've already been placed in protective custody. She expects to have Polydamus Swallowtails to release at some point, after having raised some truly ugly caterpillars. You can see a picture of one of her earlier Polydamus butterflies in this post, and some pictures of their truly ugly caterpillars here.

In other news, Monarch eggs are hatching in the milkweed gardens, and Judi has been harvesting a half-dozen or so Monarch caterpillars every day. Lots and lots of Monarchs on the horizon....



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