Black Swallowtail Chrysalis ......to Butterfly

black swallowtail chrysalis


The Black Swallowtail Chrysalis metamorphosis
is very interesting to watch.



The caterpillar attaches itself in a different manner than the Monarch caterpillar. First the caterpillar spins some silk into a "button" and attaches its rear to the stick or stem.

Then, it spins silk into a long thread, attaches it to the stick and then wraps it around itself like a sling.

Isn't it amazing that the caterpillar intuitively knows exactly how to do this!! Miraculous!

In less than 24 hours, the caterpillar starts to change in appearance, straighting out a bit and getting somewhat limp looking.

Then, you will notice the skin splitting, starting at the back of its head going down. The skin shrivels and the unusually shaped chrysalis is revealed. I think it looks like a cat or mouse head.



Follow this transformation in the photos below.....


black swallowtail chrysalis black swallowtail chrysalis black swallowtail chrysalis

black swallowtail chrysalis black swallowtail chrysalis black swallowtail chrysalis

The chrysalis turns either brown or green depending on what it is attached......

black swallowtail chrysalis

If it is Fall, the chrysalis goes into diapause (a type of hibernation) during winter.

Two suggestions for care.

  • Put it in a clean container (maybe paper towel on bottom) in an unheated garage. This is probably easiest method.
  • Put in a clean container with some paper towels lightly misted in refrigerator. The chrysalis needs proper humidity, temperature and air circulation.

Take the chrysalis out of frig or into house from garage in late Spring when it is warm enough during daylight hours for the Swallowtail to fly (April or May, depending on location).

Finally, after a couple of weeks....the beautiful Black Swallowtail Butterfly emerges!!

black swallowtail butterfly just hatched





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