June 23, 2013

Home Caterpillar Hatching Station by Mrs. Blackburn

Day Two After Finding the Caterpillar

This munching machine was enjoying some fennel in my garden. I was worried birds would get it, so I transferred him to my caterpillar hatching station (aka herpetarium). The host plant, fennel, he was feeding on was planted in the ground, so it couldn't be moved. Since parsley is also a host plant for Black Swallowtail caterpillars, I placed a pot of parsley inside. I laid the stem of fennel he was munching on across the top of the parsley, hoping he might decide to try that for dessert. I have read that  caterpillars won't change what they are feeding on. If it won't eat the parsley, I will just keep adding stalks of fennel. 

The rocks are simply to add some weight to the cage so the wind won't blow it off of my patio table. I added some sticks for it to attach its chrysalis. It might attach itself to the cage wall. We will see.

The caterpillar hasn't moved much since this afternoon. Maybe it is ready to go through one of four molting stages. From looking at pictures here, I think it is in the third instar stage because it doesn't seem as green as the caterpillar in the photos of the fourth instar stage. 

One last look before bed. 

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