ZEBRA instars???

bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)June 11, 2013

I have been searching the web for some good shots of all Zebra Swallowtail instars, and I am coming up empty handed. Anyone have such shots or can tell me where to look? Thanks. I guess I had best photograph these little cats as often as possible. Seems like the world is lacking in decent pics of them. :o)

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I made pictures of my zebra swallowtails at various stages, but I didn't know the exact instars -

Zebra swallowtail eggs -

Zebra hatchling - tiny!! -

Zebra early instar cat -

Growing zebra cat -

Middle Instar -

Dark late instar -

Green Cat -

Chrysalides - Shockingly small! - They come in brown, too, but mine were green -

I hope you're more successful raising these caterpillars than I was. There were many eggs laid, but only two lived and emerged as adults -

The red coloring at the bottom of their wings was different, and the amount of white and black was different, so I assume one was male and one was female. I think the above picture was probably a male, and this picture was probably a female -

I've never gotten any more zebra swallowtail eggs, and I've never seen any more in my garden or in this area - too bad, because they're SO beautiful!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 3:30PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

This is why "Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies" is one of my favorite books. Has a picture of each instar for each species. Unfortunately, ZSTs are not in Cascadia. :(

You might want to start including the word "swallowtail" in your ZST thread titles since there has been some confusion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:31PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

BIG help Sherry!! Thanks! I saved the post. So, the ones I have right now are kinda like the "growing Zebra Cat" shot of yours. It looks like they grow wider instead of longer. One of my cats that was very dark when I brought it in, now looks light all over. Some that looked light, now look darker. Why do you think they are so hard to hard raise? Is it at a certain stage that everything seems to go wrong? I am really holding my breath here with them, expecting to find them dead the next time that I look. Thanks KC, I will do that. Not intending to confuse anyone. :o)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:02PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Mine died at every stage. At first, I left them outside, but I noticed them disappearing. Then when they started dying off in the usual cage, I raised them in sealed containers, but they still died. I don't know what the problem is, but I do know that others have had the same problem. I think Elisabeth told you to bleach the leaves? I don't remember doing that, so maybe that was the problem. Still, it makes you wonder - if the leaves need bleaching, how did zebra swallowtails ever survive on their own?
If I ever get eggs again, I don't know if I'll try raising them myself, or just leave them on the tree/bush.

I sure hope things work out well for you, though!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Bravo!! Awesome portfolio on the Zebra Swallowtail:-) I only wish those beautiful butterflies grew this far up north...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:29AM
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"Still, it makes you wonder - if the leaves need bleaching, how did zebra swallowtails ever survive on their own? "

Lol Miss Sherry! Yes, this is why we don't see that many in the wild, I think. Or at least one of the many problems this species has.

I never worry too much about instars. Maybe I should? This would be an interesting discussion. So many things affect how big a caterpillar grows. It is easy to get hung up on how big I think they "should" grow. However, for the first time raising something, it is good to know how big they get. Healthy zebra caterpillars (whatever that is :)) are not very long at rest. They can stretch out when moving, but typically no bigger than an inch to an inch and an half at rest. They are a small caterpillar and chrysalis. It is amazing how that big butterfly comes out of the chrysalis.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:00PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Thanks again to all for the help and wishes. New pics coming to you now!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:03PM
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