An extraordinary post by one of my favorite bloggers.
After last summer’s monarch success, I was eager to attract more butterflies to the yard. My sister-in-law frequently sees Black Swallowtail caterpillars on the dill she grows in her garden, so I planted a basket of dill this spring. A bit of online research convinced me to plant fennel and parsley, too.
Soon there were eggs.
Then there were caterpillars.
Dozens of caterpillars.
And then the caterpillars began disappearing.
The yard has many caterpillar predators, but I suspect the house wrens were responsible for most of the swallowtail disappearances. I don’t believe any of summer’s early caterpillars survived, though new eggs constantly dotted the parsley leaves.
In late June, the caterpillars molted through four instar stages before the predators found them.
One evening I counted twenty-one caterpillars on the parsley. The next morning, all but one were gone. I spent half the day arguing with myself, debating the wisdom of…
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