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Female Pipevine Swallowtail, Eggs, and Datana Major

10 years ago

I've noticed that a huckleberry bush/Vaccinium arborum near the road looked stripped, and I saw why today -


There are about a dozen or more of these caterpillars on the bush - there are several other huckleberry bushes nearby. I believe these caterpillars are Datana major/azalea datana, and they're fairly attractive, what with the red feet! :)

I've been raising some pipevine swallowtails in a big cage on the porch, and the last of them has purged, so I'm through feeding this group. A female was out in the garden about 5-7 days ago laying eggs, and they're starting to hatch today -


I thought she was pretty for a female, more blue on her hindwings than most. The vines are SO decimated from all the cats that have been chewing on them that I'm a bit worried I won't have enough food for them. These eggs were laid on some new growth coming up near the bottom of the edge of one group of vines, plus I've been seeing some more new growth on the rest of the vines, so maybe there will be enough to feed them - I've put cow manure mixed with a little chemical fertilizer around the vines, then watered it in to encourage more new growth. These are some hard working vines!

I think I'll raise these hatchlings myself. I enjoy it, and my track record of successfully getting them to maturity is better than theirs! :)


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