Subject: Pleasant Surprise!
Location: West Losangeles
May 26, 2017 11:41 am
I’ve been planting fennel for years to attract anise swallowtail butterflies with sporadic success. Can’t tell you how surprised I was to see a parsley plant covered with caterpillars. I counted 14, but there are probably more. Did a bit of research and learned the plants the larvae eat are in the carrot family, so, I guess parsley is in the carrot family?
One thing I didn’t like about fennel is the caterpillars are exposed and easily seen by predators. With parsley, at least when they are small, the caterpillars are hidden by leaves.
Signature: Jeff Bremer
We are concerned that 14 caterpillars will soon defoliate your parsley plant and that without any food, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars will starve before reaching maturity. You might want to consider buying a few more parsley plants to help ensure survival. We occasionally find Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars munching on carrots and parsley in our own garden.
More parley is on my list.
I have another question for you: Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of the butterflies we’ve lured into our back yard (including caterpillars, chrysalises and eggs). Would you be interested in them or know of any organizations that could use them?
Hundreds arriving at one time would be overwhelming for our tiny staff, but trickling them in slowly to our site would be wonderful. Please continue to use our standard form for submissions and please confine your submissions to a single species. Eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and imagos or adults of the same species arriving together though would be most welcome. We are especially curious when you first documented the Giant Swallowtail and its caterpillar the Orange Dog as this species was first reported in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, we believe.