Eastern Black Swallowtail Cats Question

luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)June 24, 2011

I have 5 cats/chrysalis in various stages of development. This is our first time raising EBS. Anyway, we are going away for one week tomorrow. I don't really know what to do. One became a chrysalis about a week ago, the other yesterday, now another one looks like it will tomorrow, etc. How long to they remain in the chrysalis? I'm tempted to put them outside as I don't want them to emerge while we are away starve to death. But if they stay that way for 2 weeks or so, than we should be safe leaving the remaining cats with food. Any advice would be appreciated.

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I would guess 2-3 weeks is about average, but I haven't kept records. The oldest chrysalis will probably not have emerged when you return, but I can't guarantee it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:12AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Well, your cats will have to eat, so you'd need to put them out on some host plant. They need to have access to plenty of fresh food. The Swallowtails are really unpredicatable in terms of when they will eclose, but during this time of the year, it's more likely to be sooner than later. I'd think that your week old chrysalis kid may eclose while you are gone. "About 2 weeks" is the usual timeframe for eclosure, but I have had Black Swallowtails eclose much sooner than that and much much later than that. If you don't have anyone who can watch them for you, I would put them outside, just to be on the safe side. Choose an out of the way, safer spot, which has shelter from the wind. Up a little higher is better. Good luck, and happy vacation! You can raise more when you return.~~A

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:21AM
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BST's done really have a time table that they stick to, at least in my back yard. I had a bunch pupate 2 years ago (in June & July I believe) and none of them eclosed that year; they all overwintered! Last year I had quite a bit pupate and eclose within weeks. If you're going to be away, your best bet would be to either leave the chrysalid outside and somewhat protected from predators. If it does eclose, at least it will be on it's way and not confined. Or leave it with someone you trust.

How are you raising your cats; in a cage or individual containers? Full plant or feeding them as they need? I have a butterfly cage on my deck. I put the potted plants inside and let the cats do their thing, eat, pupate & eclose. If I go away on vacation, I have someone to water the plants and release any possible eclosures...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:44PM
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