Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nature, giving gift after gift

This morning, on the way out of the house, I found a dead cicada, complete and perfect, right outside the door.  He instantly became a drawing model, results in Beautiful Metaphor.  The cicada is a beautifully engineered animal, with four transparent wings, and wonderful veining.

Then when I noticed a while later that there was a kind of black dust dropping onto the bookcase around the cut parsley flowers I'd brought in for decoration, I realized they were parsley seeds.  So I figured I'd collect them, so small, like black dust, you sweep them into your collection envelope with your hand.

Then I noticed on the parsley stems these little visitors

Dusky swallowtail butterfly caterpillars!  very young, must have hatched in the house, since a couple still had the original egg casing attached to their middles.  

So, since I love the dusky, I took the stems carefully back outside and put them back with the rest of the parsley.  See the remnants of the egg casing on one of these?

I called over my neighbor, who was very excited along with me, and quickly sent pix to a friend in Puerto Rico who used to live here.

Dusky swallowtails like parsley, dill, that family of plants, and if you see them please don't destroy!  they don't eat anything else, and what's a bit of parsley between friends?


  1. I grew a dill plant for the first time this year - I'll be sure to check carefully. Thanks for the tip :)

  2. It's been years since I've seen one of those caterpillars - happy to see your visitors. Keep an eye and perhaps you might see the butterfly hatch. That would be amazing!!

  3. Since I posted, two more have hatched and the smaller ones in my pix have increased their size a lot. Rapid growth curve.

  4. oh how exciting. I had black swallowtails one year who ate all my carrot tops and I didnt mind at all. Apparently swallowtails are fond of the carrot family, no matter what it calls itself.
    and what perfect pictures, too


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