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New Cats on the Block

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I've been raising monarch caterpillars (photos below) again this summer, but this is a cat of a different breed.

 

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This is a monarch cat...with its two sets of antennae and yellow/black/white banding.

 


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Cats-5

While I was out in my wildflower patch to get food for my monarch cats, ...

 

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...my eyes spied this gorgeous little creature munching on Queen Anne's lace.  A little research and confirmation from my high school entomologist friend identifies it as a black swallowtail cat.

 

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I thought these might be even different, but it seems that black swallowtails can be either more white or more green in appearance.  

I've found 6 or 7 of these cats on Queen Annes' lace plants and brought them inside...I'm sure I could find more if I tried.  Queen Anne's lace is a very plentiful food supply!

 


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While monarch cats hang upside down and form a "J" when they are ready for form their chrysalis, not so with the swallowtail cats.

 

 

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They scrunch themselves up into a comma shape and stay that way for a couple of days...

 


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...before forming their odd chrysalis, which looks much like a leaf.  It's no wonder we don't see these in the wild...very cleverly camouflaged!  After a few days, the chrysalis turns more of a brown color.

I am still awaiting the emergence of my first swallowtail...I'll be sure to share photos when it happens.

 

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Since they aren't fighting for food (monarchs eat milkweed, swallowtails eat Queen Anne's lace), my monarch cats are happily sharing their square enclosure with a different butterfly breed this year.

 

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We've got new cats on the block.

 

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