a butterfly in my garden


A couple of weeks ago I discovered a caterpillar just chilling on my parsley. I was really excited because I was pretty sure that it was a monarch caterpillar, although I knew that they preferred milkweed. After a bit of googling, I discovered that it was a swallowtail caterpillar which looks similar to a monarch caterpillar but is slightly greener and the stripe pattern is slightly different.

caterpillar comparison


[monarch / black swallowtail]

I continued to watch it when I watered my plants, and one day discovered it was gone. I was worried a bird had gotten to it until I discovered a chrysalis attached to my basil.  I continued to check on it from time to time, but there really wasn’t any change. Unfortunately my basil plant started dying off due to a fungus, and I was worried it would die before the butterfly emerged.


A couple of days ago I decided to bring it indoors. I did some research and found that unlike other chrysalises, you should try to keep it attached because the chrysalis attaches itself with some silk. You can just make it out in the photos but it was impressive in person. I attached the basil stem to a chopstick using some floral wire and propped it up in vase with a few rocks at the bottom. I placed the whole thing in a tabletop greenhouse because I was worried about the butterfly emerging while we were gone and never getting it out of our house.


At this point it had been a couple of weeks and I was hoping that I didn’t have to wait too long for it to emerge. I checked on it in the morning before I went to work and it was slightly darker. When I got home, I checked on it again and to my surprise it was opened.The butterfly had emerged and was fully dry. It was hanging out at the bottom of my greenhouse.



I used this opportunity to take a few pictures, then I brought it outside. I removed the top, and a few minutes later the butterfly flew off. After comparing the photos to ones I found online, I almost certain that the butterfly was female. Hopefully she’ll live a long and happy life.


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