For about a month we have been “babysitting” for Mother Nature. I discovered this horrible looking caterpillar on my Meyer Lemon tree one day and, after, researching it on the internet, learned that it is called “bird dropping caterpillar” (and I’m sure you can see why).
I became so fascinated that I put it in a jar with some lemon leaves and watched it grow. After about a week and a half I found two more of these creatures and added them to the jar with a stick.
About 2 weeks later they started going into the next stage and eventually looked like this:
(this picture is taken up against my husband’s t-shirt)
Can you see them? The two things that look like little branches on the left side. There were actually three of them on the stick.
Finally, last Saturday night, we came home to find that the first one had emerged and was trying to fly around in the jar – stick and all.
I didn’t want him/her to die so I put it outside on a table on the porch and it remained there, without moving for several days. I kept checking on it because it wasn’t moving. The weather was changing so I brought it in and put it in the guest bathroom (which is hardly used) and closed the door. (I put water and some hummingbird nectar in there, but it never ate.) Well, here it is a week later and he/she has become a pet.
I have been reading up on these Black Swallowtail butterflies and learned that they don’t migrate and if they reach adulthood when the weather is turning cold, they will hibernate. So, as much as I hated to do it, I put him/her outside today on the lemon tree where I discovered it. Even going outside in the wind, it stayed on my finger and I had to pry it off to put it on the lemon leaf.
I miss him/her already!!