Meredith over at Great Stems left a comment the other day about how she never tires of taking pictures of her black swallowtail cats, and I agree with her. They don’t fly away like adults do, so I have plenty of time to snap pics. My wife has now gotten in on the action, taking these great pictures below.
As you can see, they are getting fat and plump on the fennel, which, remarkably, has only grown more aggressively. I counted a total of thirteen cats on the four fennel plants on Sunday. Monday morning the largest of them had gone, I assume to get ready for its great transformation. Last night, with the insane wind we had, one of the big cats got blown off the fennel and a bird swooped down to have dinner. My wife saw it and ran outside to chase the bird, but it was too late. Even with its defense mechanism and foul odor, it couldn’t avoid being a snack. We did our best to shield the rest of them for awhile as the wind finally subsided. In the meantime, though, I was also busy tying sunflowers to the fence and propping up my bean bushes with bricks to keep them from blowing over! The wind has been really wild this spring!
Check out this short HD video I captured of the caterpillar munching down on the fennel. This is not sped up in anyway, they really eat that fast! 🙂
I also found these fuzzy cats chewing up my marjoram. Not quite sure what they are, but I moved them to over the neighbor’s fence. If they can make it back here without getting eaten by the birds, then I guess they passed Herbert Spencer’s test!