Pre-Pupal Black Swallowtail Caterpillar and Butterfly Garden

Interesting moths and butterflies?
Location: Windsor, ON, Canada
August 2, 2011 12:10 pm
This doesn’t seem like a question you would normally get, but I am quite interested in Lepidoptera and I am wondering what are some easy ways to attract interesting and beautiful species?
I am currently raising a Black swallowtail caterpillar, which is about to pupate, that I found on my parsley,in my garden.
Next year, I am going to plant a strawberry plant, and I know it will attract many moths, including the Emperor moth. Anyway, are there any nice species that I can attract easily with a host plant? Preferably not a tree. A shrub, plant, flower ..etc will work.
Signature: Sincerely, Dante

Pre-Pupal Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Dante,
Thank you for submitting your lovely photo of a Pre-Pupal Black Swallowtail Caterpillar.  There is nothing unusual about your request.  It would be really helpful to know what species you are trying to attract, and also if you are wanting to provide just nectar for the butterflies, or host plants for caterpillars.  Butterfly Bush,
Buddleia species, are famous for attracting butterflies.  As a youngster growing up in Ohio, Daniel used to give his mother a bit of grief for damaging her tall perennial Phlox flowers in an attempt to catch butterflies.  The Phlox would attract numerous species of nectaring butterflies, including Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails and Pipevine Swallowtails as well as Fritillaries, Monarchs and diurnal Sphinx Moths.  Zinnias are another excellent flower to attract nectaring butterflies, but they are annuals that need to be planted each year.  Coneflowers and Monarda are also good choices for perennials.  You can always add native milkweed to your garden to provide the host plant for Monarch Caterpillars and the blossoms attract numerous butterflies.  Good luck.

Thank you for replying, I want to provide host plants for caterpillars,  preferably simple plants, not trees.
I was thinking about planting strawberries to attract Small emperor moths , but I am not sure if they live in Detroit, MI. Are there any silk moths, sphinx/hawk moths or butterflies that I can attract easily with a host plant?
Sincerely, Dante

Hi again Dante,
We are not certain where you heard about strawberries, but we have our doubts.  Regarding Giant Silkmoths, they do not feed as adults.  Lights will attract them, but you need host trees and you are not interested in planting trees.  Hawkmoths can be attracted by flowers with nectar, like bee balm, honeysuckle and nicotiana.  Tomato plants will attract species that feed on tomato leaves.  Good Luck.

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