Wildlife Wednesday – Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and Parasitic wasps

The Black Swallowtail Caterpillars have been feasting heavily on my parsley. The fennel has almost ran it’s course and I suppose that’s why the Mother Butterflies chose the parsley at last. I’m glad I planted it for just that purpose.

I’m more than a bit miffed about a new discovery with the chrysalises. Apparently there’s parasitic wasps that injects their eggs into the chrysalis. Their young feeds off the butterfly pupae and hatch out. I’ve found several chrysalises with the circular hole in them.

It’s a wonder that butterflies survive at all. 



14 thoughts on “Wildlife Wednesday – Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and Parasitic wasps

  1. “More than a bit miffed” I love your attitude! Thankfully some beautiful swallowtails do survive! I must remember to plant a bit of parsley and fennel in my garden next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Mary
      You’re a peach. Thanks for the smile this morning. 🙂
      I figure where you live, you’ll have oodles of black Swallowtail butterflies if you plant fennel and parsley. 🙂


    • Thanks CW
      I don’t know how I missed your comment.
      Wasps are a nuisance and yet they have one redeeming quality, they eat oodles of spiders.

      The caterpillars are gone now and hopefully they made it to the woods to pupate through winter. 🙂


      • Yes, that is a definite redeeming quality they have. I find it difficult to fully dislike critters who eat the eight legged beasts. Who of course themselves eat all manner of creepy crawly I would rather not be around. They all do their part to do good things… I just wish they’d all stay out of my house and away from me lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I’ve never seen this! That would break my heart, and I’d be tempted to take them ALL inside the house. You’re right, it’s an incredible low percentage that survive. I know the cardinals were feasting on the caterpillars again this year. I guess God made them to serve multi-purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Patti,
      If it hadn’t been so late in the season, I would’ve brought the chrysalises in the house. But I didn’t know if they needed to do their chrysalis thing that prepares them for over-wintering.
      I figured I had mastered the birds. They don’t go near the rubber snake I put out in the flowerbed like a scarecrow. Unfortunately, parasitic wasps aren’t intimidated by a rubber snake.
      I agree God made the circle of life to work to keep the many species flourishing.
      But oh my goodness, I feel so sad for the butterflies. Bless their hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I found black swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel, so I thought I would save them and put them in my critter cage. I had 6 turn into chrysalises, and after a couple weeks, a beautiful female butterfly emerged. But much to my surprise, wasps came out of the other 5! Apparently, they lay their eggs on the caterpillars and start the whole sad process that way. GRRR!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Sue,
      Welcome to my blog.
      It’s so sad when the wasp use the chrysalises to incubate their young. I realize it’s a part of nature, but it’s still heartbreaking none-the-less.
      I’m glad you had one to turn into a butterfly. That’s a wonderful gift to experience.
      I wish you lots of luck for future butterflies.


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