Anise swallowtail butterflies return

The calendar says it’s summer, but my weatherman (aka George) observes: Brrrrr … . Happily, despite our fog and chilly temps, the Anise Swallowtail butterflies are here on schedule. I haven’t seen any adults visit the garden, but they’re leaving precious yellow eggs on the fennel. The egg on top was probably laid today, the one with darkening bands was likely laid several days ago. This is an extreme closeup shot – the eggs are smaller than the head of a pin.

Anise swallowtail butterfly eggs

I took this photo in 2013 of a female laying an egg (ovipositing) on the same fennel plant.

Anise swallowtail butterfly laying egg on fennel

We keep the eggs and caterpillars inside in a net cage where we feed them and keep the chrysalises safe until the adult butterflies emerge. We also rescued several caterpillars from a plant in our neighborhood that has been cut down in previous years. This guy just shed his skin (on the right).

Anise swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

See how coloration varies in different larval stages.Anise swallowtail butterfly caterpillars

So far one adult has emerged.

Anise swallowtail butterfly emerged

When the sun finally came out I put her onto a lily plant on the deck, and after a minute or so she happily flew away.

Want to see more of these wonderful butterflies and their life cycle?

My 2013 post about anise swallowtail butterflies.

And from 2012.  Another from 2012.  And another!

And from 2011.  Another from 2011. And another!



4 comments on “Anise swallowtail butterflies return

  1. solarbeez says:

    I’ve got a couple of huge fennel plants that have wintered over. Should I be looking for eggs on the little branches? I’ve seen Swallowtail butterflies, but not actually ON the fennel.
    Was that a huge sigh I heard when you were shooting the video? Maybe you knew the swallowtail would be leaving home, spreading it’s wings, taking to the sky. Maybe you weren’t ready for that. 🙂

  2. Heidi Rand says:

    Yes! I’d look to see whether there are any eggs or cats. Since you’ve seen the butterflies hopefully you’ll get lucky and find some babies!
    The sound was probably the annoying traffic on the street in front of our house. I’m always happy when they’re healthy and fly away. If they’re female I tell them to come back to lay eggs! 🙂

  3. Janice Adams says:

    As always that was a lovely and interesting blog. I always learn things from you. Thanks so much.

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