Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 7 - 10, 2011: Swallowtails and Ladies

This week, the Black Swallowtails started emerging. There are 17 chrysalises that overwintered in the cage. A male emerged on 5/7 and a female on 5/9. Both were small and had more orange than usual on the underside.

Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes
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We also found six Cabbage White caterpillars on Yellow Rocket.

Cabbage White Pieris rapae on Yellow Rocket Barbarea vulgaris
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And finally, we found 13 American Lady eggs on the Pussytoes in the garden.

American Lady Vanessa virginiensis egg on Pussytoes Antennaria plantaginifolia
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The plan had been to leave them on the plant, since the caterpillars make nests that make them harder to raise in cages. However, by the next day, the eggs had been found by ants.

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There are two eggs in the picture. The ant was working on the one on the right for at least half an hour, encircling it and working on it with his mouth. Presumably, he was aiming to detach it from the leaf and take it back to the nest.

In any event, we did not want the eggs to go for ant food, so we brought them inside on A. plant. sections that went into pots. The hope is that the plants will root and provide food for the caterpillars.

JRC

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