Surprise Swallowtails!

Tony G(5a)August 22, 2011

This is my first year raising BSTs and I have 9 chrysalises. 2 are green and 7 are brown.

I read in here that the brown chrysalides meen the BST had gone into diapause.

I was tending to my monarchs late this afternoon when I looked into my plastic aquarium with 3 brown chrysalides...and saw 2 butterflies!!!

All my caterpillars are in an enclosed porch that gets some afternoon sun (windows are always open). Maybe the combination of being in a warm porch and a plastic aquarium brought them out of diapause? tomorrow is going to be even warmer and all of the cats pupated around the same time.

This got me thinking, what is the lifespan of the BST adult? will they migrate to warmer weather or just die when it gets too cold here? Thanks in advance, Tony

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

'Beautiful picture of a beautiful female black swallowtail, Tony!
I don't know where they go or how long they live. They're the most mysterious butterfly around here. I rarely ever see them in my garden, like maybe once a year, but they must visit more often than that, because the eggs/cats turn up on rue and other host plants in my garden every year. After I release the butterflies, I don't see them any more.
The brown chrysalides can either emerge right away or overwinter. The green ones always emerge right away, never overwinter, at least so far. When it comes to BSTs, though, never bet on anything!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:41AM
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Tony G(5a)

Thanks so much Sherry!

I had a third female eclose today from a brown chrysalis. The two green ones are ,well...still green.

I have also seen them in the garden on rare occassions. I've actually seen two females in the last week (before mine hatched) but I don't know if I have EVER seen a male BST after seeing pictures.

I still prefer the monarchs because if you build the right habitat, they will keep your garden company for DAYS! (at least the males will)

Last night at dusk I was watching 3 monarchs decide sleeping arrangements in the trees above.

I wish the BST's were a bit more social... They certainly are beautiful to look at!


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:30PM
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Tony G(5a)

well, what do you know. The day I write I've never seen a male BST, look who flies in for a visit!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:30PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

He's one handsome dude!

And I love those zinnias! They remind me of some I had called Yowie Zowie or something like that. :)


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Tony G(5a)

yes, the zowies have been very popular over the last month and they are absolutely gorgeous. :)

Next year, I am giving them a special section in the south garden and putting all the tall zinnias in the north. Already making plans for

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:31PM
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I'm not sure anyone knows the real reason why some are brown and some are green. I've read that the color depends on what color stick they attach themselves to, whether they are male or female, etc... neither is true of course. I've had plenty of both color and never had any overwinter. I would love to truly figure out what causes some to be brown and some green. And then of course you have ones that start out greenish and turn more on the brown side.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Miss Sherry - Polydamas also can make either a brown or green chrysalis. I have had both overwinter safely and emerge the next spring. I had one that I had brought in from my first round of eggs back in April and it just eclosed last week. I thought that it was weird that it would possibly diapause so early in the season.

I think it has something to do as to where it makes its chrysalis, although I have also seen brown ones right next to green ones in amongst the vines.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Tony G(5a)

I have had 4 hatch so far...3 females and 1 male. Are all the males so high strung? I've never seen a butterfly so anxious to get away!

Even though we have some nectar flowers that BST's like, none of mine have stayed around. But part of that may be because of all the territorial monarch males around...they don't always play nice!

Of interest, the first green chrysalis formed has not hatched, while the second one has. It appears the first one may be in diapause?

We still have some decent weather left so I'm hoping a couple more hatch soon. Will keep you posted, Tony

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 2:07PM
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The Swallowtails have been in my garden like crazy! They like my butterfly bush, tithonia and yellow lantana. I found one nectaring on my BB the other day that had damaged wings and one I found on the ground was dead :(. I have not seen any eggs, cats or chrysalises. Hmm, guess I need more host plants!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 3:44PM
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