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Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle
Papilio polyxenes

 

Black Swallowtail caterpillar

This is the first instar caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.
I found them munching on my Parsley plant in South Florida.
Caterpillars feed on plants in the carrot family. This may include dill, fennel, parsley, or carrots.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

These are later instar caterpillars.
The one on the right has just molted or shed its skin and still looks rather whiteish.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

These are full grown caterpillars. They get about 2 - 2.5 inches long.
My parsley plant is all but gone now.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I brought them indoors to pupate. After finding a nice spot, they make a girdle out of silk strand to hang from.
They can stay in this J form about 24 hours.

Black Swallowtail Pupa
Black Swallowtail Pupa

They wiggle off the caterpillar skin to expose the pupa underneath.
At first it is soft and mushy.

Black Swallowtail Pupa
Black Swallowtail Pupa

Soon it hardens and darkens.
The pupal stage lasts about 9-10 days.

Black Swallowtail Pupa
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Here is the Black Swallowtail butterfly after just emerging from the pupa.
The wings are pumped with fluid and begin to dry.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

This one is a male.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

This one is a female.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly


Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Papilio polyxenes

Papilionidae Family

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