The caterpillars are beginning to take over my garden. The Black Swallowtail caterpillars are munching down on my Parsley:
They use plants from the carrot family as their host plants. These include Carrots, Dill, Parsley, and Fennel. Here is a closer shot of the beautiful stripes on these guys:
Here is a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar:
He is munching down on a passionflower - the host plant of this species. They COMPLETELY defoliated my huge passionvine last year, but the passionflower is adapted to such abuse and came right back from the ground this spring. The caterpillars then spin themselves up in their cocoons and hang themselves all over my house. The chrysalis is light brown and closely resembles a dead leaf. This one is on my porch chair:
Here is a picture of a Queen butterfly on my mist flowers. Boy do they dig the mist flowers! They simply MOB this flower - it is like Queen butterfly Crack!:
The Queen butterfly is related to the Monarch butterfly and like the Monarch, uses Milkweed as its host plant. Some milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. They make them distasteful to birds and other critters that might otherwise think the Queen a nummy snack.