Swallowtail caterpillar in my garden

I found it yesterday on a volunteer dill plant that grew up in the pole beans. I thought it was a Monarch; they look very similar. Today it has almost doubled in size already, and the dill plant is just about gone. I might need to move it to another dill plant, or that 5 foot tall carrot plant that is blooming. I don't know if they like to be moved... It's not gonna eat my beans if I leave it alone and it runs out of dill, will it? The beans would be a nice protected place for it to pupate. It's odd that there's just one.
Bob
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wrote:

Dill or parsley is the ticket for for them.
I only had one this year. Is this indicative of climatological and environmental changes?
If it is running out of forage, break off the branch it upon which it is feasting, and lay it amongst the new dill.
It won't go to beans.
Be sure to give it a love stroke and get it's orange horns aroused. Then give those horns a sniff or gently touch the appendages and, uh, sniff yer fingers. Ya' gotta do it...seriously. It's the way to learn a bit more about them and their defenses. ;-)
I have to do it every year. Just did it last week.
Charlie
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it will prefer dill if it spent it's first couple instars on dill. it may eat the carrot (or Queen Anne's Lace), but i've found they really prefer the original food plant they started on. it won't touch your beans. swallowtails deposit eggs one at a time on several different plants in a 50-100' radius (maybe even wider. i am basing this on my observatios in my yard, which has a lot of swallowtail host plants). it's a good survival stratagy since only one caterpiller per food plant means they're both harder for predators to find & also likely to each have enough to eat. does your caterpiller have the stinky orange horns that pop out when touched? lee
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enigma wrote:

I couldn't find him this afternoon. He's either moved on, or been eaten by a bird. I looked on the nearby (very nearby) dill plants too.
Bob
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if he was around 1.25" long when you saw him, he's gone now because he's pupated :) it's unlikely a bird ate it, as the stinky horns also taste bad. my chickens leave them alone & not much gets by them.
lee
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enigma wrote:

I thought that might be the case, because that's how big it was yesterday. They don't bury in the ground do they?
Bob
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some do, yes.
lee
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On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 12:36:40 +0000 (UTC), enigma

There are several types of swallowtail butterflies. I suspect you have a Black Swallowtail though. Maybe:
http://home.att.net/~larvalbugbio/swallowtails.html
http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l 56
http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg266.html
If so the scientific name is "Papilio polyxenes asterius". Use that and a search engine and you can find a lot more info.
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Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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I've been watching two similar caterpillars on some parley we have in a pot on our deck.
One caterpillar was larger than the other and just yesterday I noticed it crawling out of the pot. I followed it across the deck (it "jumped" off the edge) and it crawled into a dense planting of climbing hydrangea. I expect it will be pupating in there.
After another day of eating, the second caterpillar is almost as big as the first one, so I'm expecting it to crawl off soon.
I was lucky to catch the first one in the act of making his get away.
-- michael
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