(new 07/06/18)

his hungry caterpillar came from a tiny egg deposited on a leaf (in this case, on a dill plant).  We watched the various stages as it fed on its host plant.  As it progressed from a pinpoint egg to a teeny–then larger–caterpillar, it, and its siblings, became relentless munching machines.   Their ferocious appetite can strip stems of its delicate leaves in a short amount of time.

(A dill plant stem (foreground) is all that remains after the caterpillar feasted on this dill plant )     ———————>


          Finally stuffed, a caterpillar hurried to prepare for its next assignment.  Until this year, we never saw where caterpillars crawled to form their chrysalis but on the evening of June 19th, we saw the new stage on a nearby basil plant, built by a sibling of the caterpillar shown on this page.  Strategically placed under a leaf and attached to the stem by two fine threads, it prepared for its next chapter in life.  (If you look closely, you can see the fine threads near the top of the encasement.) This little one’s stage survived a heavy rainstorm; how remarkable!    
          Despite daily check-ins, we missed out on the best sight of all, the emergence of an adult black swallowtail butterfly.  On July 3rd, the casing was found cracked open and empty.  We hope the new chapter in this critter’s life is enjoyable.  Flying above its former nursery, it’s now time to find a mate and enjoy garden flowers.  Maybe we’ll complete the cycle’s photo album next year.
          In the meantime YOU decide……
……is this a good bug or a bad bug?