Ed. Note: Our editorial staff will be on holiday for a few weeks, so we are post-dating submissions to go live during our absence. We hope you enjoy this gorgeous series of images of the life cycle of the Anise Swallowtail
Subject: West Los Angeles sighting – Anise Swallow Tail #1
Location: West Los Angeles
June 1, 2017 12:19 pm
Here’s the first of my sets of pictures you asked me to trickle in. Since I can attach only 3 images, I’m going to send in 4 sets for the swallow tail. If this is too much, please let me know.
Hope you enjoy these.
Signature: Jeff Bremer
We will put together a nice life cycle posting with the images you have sent. We will distill them down to the best images and we will postdate your submission so it goes live during our absence mid month. We feel we have to provide you with a challenge though. Your spectacular life cycle images are lacking critical two stages. We hope someday you can capture the actual emergence of the adult from the chrysalis, and of course, we always love to post images of mating insects to our Bug Love page.
Newly hatched Anise Swallowtails somewhat resemble bird droppings which may help to camouflage them from predators.
As they grow and molt, later instars of the Anise Swallowtail Caterillar take on the characteristic green color with black and yellow spots.
When threatened, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar reveals its osmetrium, a forked orange organ that releases a foul smell to deter predators.
As pupation time nears, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar spins a silken girdle to help keep it from hanging down.
This Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis is being visited by a parasitoid Chalcid Wasp. Here is a posting from BugGuide that shows a close-up of the Chalcid Wasp. Butterfly Fun Facts has an excellent description of this Parasitoid, including: “A healthy chrysalis will have light membranes between its abdominal segments. As wasps grow inside the chrysalis, the membranes turn dark. Infected chrysalises turn darker and often have a reddish tinge to them. Remember! When a chrysalis is first infected (eggs laid in the chrysalis) it will appear healthy, have the correct colors and shades, and will move normal. Once the wasp larvae have grown for a few days, the color of the chrysalis will darken. A chrysalis that has a mature butterfly inside it will also turn dark the day before the butterfly emerges. If a butterfly is inside, you will see the wing pads the day before the butterfly emerges. If it darkens and wing pads cannot be seen, it is a danger sign.” Unfortunately, a percentage of Swallowtail Chrysalides will never produce an adult if they are preyed upon by parasitoid Chalcid Wasps.
The Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis darkens just before an adult is ready to emerge.
This is a gorgeous, adult Anise Swallowtail.
And the cycle begins anew as a female Anise Swallowtail deposits her eggs on the host plant.