Anise Swallowtail Butterfly bonanza

It’s a banner year for anise swallowtail butterflies, at least in our garden! A few weeks ago we saw a butterfly fluttering around the fennel plant in the back garden, and sure enough we found 13 eggs. We brought them all in and they’ve started to emerge.

Anise swallowtail caterpillar newly emerged from its chrysalis

We’ve also had some chrysalises incubating for a year or more, and some of them finally decided to emerge as well. Three of the butterflies came out yesterday and four today.

Anise swallowtail butterfly newly emergedWe check the fennel periodically for eggs and babies, and usually find them when they’re small, but this caterpillar eluded us until he had gotten quite large.

Anise swallowtail caterpillar on fennelThis is an extreme closeup, he’s actually a bit over an inch long. Anise swallowtail butterflies, in our area, mostly use fennel for their larval host. It’s plentiful and grows much more easily than the native host, yampah. The problem is that people often cut it down because it gets so large and rangy. Now that you know the beautiful butterflies that rely on the plant, please don’t cut it down until the end of the summer! Want to learn how to raise the butterflies yourself? Drop me an email and I’ll explain how-  HeidiRand@gmail.com

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2 comments on “Anise Swallowtail Butterfly bonanza

  1. solarbeez says:

    We are growing fennel from seed just for our veggie garden. Until now I didn’t know it attracted swallowtails. Thanks for mentioning that. I’ll be looking for eggs as it matures. That is, if the deer don’t find it first. They love fennel. 🙂

    • Heidi Rand says:

      The anise swallowtail butterflies here love the fennel, which is good because their native plant (yampah) isn’t available widely and fennel grows like a weed. Our deer go for flowers like our roses, or our fruit trees – they’ve left the fennel alone so far!

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