Monday, December 26, 2011

Welcome Christmas: Our black swallowtail butterfly!

A while ago, September 25th to be exact! I found a huge caterpillar on my dill plants. (I am showing it here on a different leaf!

As you can expect, I took the little guy inside the house and we went on to find out what caterpillar it was, just like we did with our  Cabbage White (Pieris Rapae) named Super. We quickly found out it was a Black Swallowtail (Papilio Polixenes).

They like to eat Dill and Parsley, so we put it in a big jar with some food and water.

It ate and moved about for about a week or two and in October 2nd, it went into its pupa stage.

We were expecting the butterfly to arrive in a week or so like Super did, but nothing happened for weeks!!! I was worried the thing was dead, but then learned that some of these butterflies stay in their pupa for the whole winter. So we left it there undisturbed on our kitchen bar for as long as it wanted.

Just a couple of days before Christmas, our gorgeous butterfly appeared - Daddy found her, he just happened to look at the jar and realized an amazing butterfly was inside!

We named him Christmas - it was just the perfect name for him, and yes it is a him. We look online, and the males have a band of yellow and little blue, the girls have a lot of blue and small yellow dots on their wings, so Christmas is definitely a boy. The kids were so excited as we truly have forgotten everything about it!

Now as it is quite cold outside and Christmas came early, we decided to keep him inside. Daddy's studio became his house. We put a few parsley plants and a little dish with a paper towel soak in a solution of honey and water. Christmas did like the water!

The most challenging part was to keep the cat away from the study. Once it new there was a butterfly there, it kept trying to sneak in. he did managed a few times and grabbed the poor thing - We really should have called it "survivor" as it did survived every time. It helps that my cat is the gentlest cutest thing ever!

So for now, we feel really pleased to have Christmas spend Christmas with us!

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