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SO excited! My first!!!

16 years ago

Okay, okay...

You are probably wondering, "What is tdogmom SO excited about?" right?

I have my VERY first ever Pipevine Swallowtail eggs! Yes! That's right! I've raised the little buggers before but have NEVER had them actually do the deed then oviposit onto my Aristolochia plants.

I am SO thrilled, you have NO idea! I was doing the happy dance, jumping up and down, that even my neighbor leaned over the fence to find out what was going on. His entire family had been ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the gorgeous PVS butterflies so they were all also thrilled (he quickly called to his wife to let her know, "Sherry has eggs!").

Ahhh...a glass of wine raised to the PVS tonight! :)


Comments (26)

  • 16 years ago

    Were the parents from last year's pupa's or did some of this year's pupas come out early. I just had 29 eggs hatch. I think the pvs will never end!


  • 16 years ago

    Congrats, Sherry!
    Now that they've found your pipevines, you'll have them - and love them - forever!

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  • 16 years ago

    Woo hoo! Congratulations, Sherry! I can tell that you are thrilled. You're lucky to have them and also to have such nice neighbors.

  • 16 years ago

    Send some my way!

  • 16 years ago


    As usual, my butterflies are ALL the weird ones. ;P

    Some were from THIS year and some from LAST year! Yep, some were the good ol' schnoozers who have been hanging around since last year May/June/July-ish and a few are from this year's batch. I swear, they just are enough to drive me batty (kinda like my Kindergartners at this time of the year). It is like the Monarchs as well...I had some from Huntington Beach, some from Fullerton, and some from my own house and who knows which were the ones that did the deed together.

    All I can say is that with the PVS I am absolutely thrilled. I'd been checking the vines for the past few days but hadn't seen a thing then when I went to go and pull out the Alstromeria that were past their prime, per Hubby's request today, and I had left this for the END of the day, I looked up and saw those little spheres. I had looked EARLIER in the day and hadn't seen a thing so I know that PVS mama snuck in sometime when I wasn't looking. Perhaps she came by and did the ovipositing while I was out collecting Monarch eggs...I'd seen a PVS fluttering about the Avocado earlier so it is entirely possible!

    I had been giggling to myself when I'd seen that PVS earlier because I was literally (are you ready?) giving a sponge bath to two of our Hibiscus plants. I know, you're probably thinking, "Sponge bath?!" My neighbors are already used to seeing me BATHING my Milkweed (well, washing them down with the hose and talking to myself, at least) but if they saw me today with two sponges and this all-natural, biodegradable soapy water mixture carefully washing each and every Hibiscus leaf I am certain they'd have thought, "Sherry is losing it now."

  • 16 years ago

    Hehehe!! Now that's something even I haven't done yet, Sherry! Sounds like a good idea, though, like a natural insecticide.

  • 16 years ago

    Don't have but one neighbor close enough to see the crazy things I do, but they aren't playing with a full deck either, so I'm considered fairly harmless outside the family. :-)

    Congrats on the eggs!


  • 16 years ago

    This has truly been a wonderful year for all of us, hasn't it? My PVS hatched and are greedily eating the PV, which I will take to Edith when they are a bit bigger.

    My QMs are eating fast and furious, too! I have my Nessus sphinx in cocoons now awaiting their birth!

    I have so many Sulphur eggs, it's not funny. They even laid eggs on my tiny little Senna bicapsularis! Silly things.

    I found one lone 1st instar sphinx on the Virginia Creeper this morning - don't know which variety yet (LOL!). The BSTs are hungrily chowing on the Rue (brought them indoors).

    I saw a cute little moth the other day on the VC that looked more like a Faithful Beauty, but it couldn't possibly be that - sure wasn't an 8-spotted forester. Saw them flying yesterday morning - such gorgeous little moths. Their wings move so quickly - much like a hummingbird moth, and those furry red legs - they remind me of vaudeville dancers! I also have grape leaf rollers on the VC, and they are pretty little moths, too. Not quite as big as the 8-spotted foresters.

    Congrats on your PVS, CalSherry! I'm so happy for you!


  • 16 years ago

    Congratulations and I'm so happy for you!

    Now you have me going...I just ordered 3-25 gallon plants from Las Plasitas Nursery. I can't find any plants for sale up here in the bay area.


  • 16 years ago

    I brought in 3 groups of eggs but have lost all the cats except 2! The little buggers just up and die on me OR disappear. Yesterday I did see the largest cat devour one of the smallest ones so I do think they are eating each other. I know my vine is okay so that is not the problem. I seperated the biggest guy from the other one so hopefully it will make it. I did however release an overwintering Pipevine that Miss Sherry had sent as eggs to me last Nov. Now that is a long nap!

  • 16 years ago

    Congrats!!! Be sure to post photos of the growing kitties.

    I also love that font on your photo! Where did you get it? I want it!!!

    ~ Cat

  • 16 years ago

    So let me try and understand.

    You raised PVS, imported from N. Calif. You also grew pipevine in your yard. The PVS eclosed and stayed nearby. And now you are getting PVS laying eggs on your pipe vine.

    Very cool! Because we really don't get PVS in S. Calif normally right?

  • 16 years ago

    Hmmmmm......sounds like CalSherry it extending the range of PVSs in California! Great!

  • 16 years ago

    There HAVE been PVS in Southern California...and not the ones I've raised either! :P I just have not had them oviposit before. If you check the butterfliesandmoth website, you will see that they are around! :) In fact, I think the MAJORITY of them are in your area-San Diego!

  • 16 years ago

    Very cool! Send some egg wishes my way, as I just this month got my very first Virginia snakeroot plant up and sprouting (thanks, Rod!)


  • 16 years ago

    Congrats! Congrats, Tdog! I know exactly how you feel. It is awesome. I have 2 males that are patrolling the area, and nabbing every female that happens along. Unfortunately for me, there are not any vines in the wild around.

    I do hope that you have enough food to keep them around. :)

    Keep up posted.

  • 16 years ago


    Congrats on your "first." For some reason, I enjoy Pipevine cats swarming on my pipevine more than most other cat sightings. May you get extra pleasure out of watching/raising all your Pipevine cats. You deserve it for all you do for butterflies.


  • 16 years ago

    WOW, that is so great Tdogmom!!! Congrats and raising my cup of coffee in a toast to you and your new find!!!

    (ditto Cat's reply re) that font - it's great! LOL!)


  • 16 years ago

    I have been looking on web sites and in some S. Calif butterfly books I have and I am really soooo impressed that you have created a habitat for PVS butterflies! I think they are more rare around these parts then you realize.

    The book "An Introduction to Southern California Butterflies" list them but has no information or pictures of them. The book "The Life Cycles of Butterflies" does not show them occurring in their map of population areas.

    I am thinking they would really have a push in the population if more people would grow pipe vine. I think they would benefit from the ornamental planting of pipe vine just like the gulf fritillary has escalated in numbers due to people planting passion vines. I am pretty sure we are lacking any native pipe vine for them to breed on in San Diego County much the same that we are woefully lacking native milkweed for monarchs.

    I'll be looking to add pipe vine to my garden more deliberately now.
    I am inspired!

  • 16 years ago


    Now, I keep seeing the PVS fluttering about but haven't spotted any eggs...hmph...

    The font is from DJ Inkers and is called DJ Butterfly (appropriate, isn't it?). It is on the Fontastic Too CD. They have a website and their products are dual format. I have always loved their clipart and rubber stamps and their fonts are my faves.

    Here is a link that might be useful: DJ Inkers for the fonts and things :)

  • 16 years ago

    Ok, I am ready to add pipevines to my garden!

    Sherry - I know you have told me before what types of pipevines you are growing but I could not find the previous post and also thought it would be a good reference to have it here as well. I have the list from the FAQ's but I am interested in what kinds do well here in S. Calif.

    And then do you also have any advice on where to either buy them in a retail nursery or an on-line source for plants?

  • 16 years ago

    I ran across this site while looking for on line info about pipevines.

    I don't think I like what it says about butterfly gardens NOT helping butterflies. ( Read it - am I not understanding it correctly?) And this is just one study on pipevine swallowtails only.

    Jacqueline M. Levy1, 2 Contact Information and Edward F. Connor1
    (1) Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA
    (2) Jacqueline M. Levy, 4226 Mt. Taylor Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95404-6255

    Abstract Gardens with nectar sources and larval host plants have been proposed to stem the decline in butterfly abundance caused by habitat loss. However, no study has provided evidence that gardens benefit butterflies. We examined the use of natural sites and gardens in the San Francisco bay area by the butterfly, Battus philenor. We found that natural sites were more likely to attract adult B. philenor, received more oviposition, and had higher juvenile survival than gardens sites. Butterflies were more likely to be present in gardens with established populations of the host plant, Aristolochia californica, growing in the sun. Battus philenor are unlikely to visit gardens with host plants planted within the past 7 years. Gardens between the ages of 8Â40 years received oviposition, but did not always support completion of larval development of B. philenor. In gardens with host plants over 40 years of age, B. philenor consistently survived from egg to the adult stage. Natural enemy induced mortality of eggs did not differ between garden and natural sites, but overall egg survival was lower in gardens than at natural sites. It is unlikely that gardens serve as 'refugia' for B. philenor in years when populations in natural sites experience low survival or low fecundity. Even in gardens capable of supporting larvae to maturity, the density of eggs and survival rates were lower than in natural populations of the host plant suggesting that gardens were not optimal habitats. Therefore, without evidence that juvenile abundance and survival rates in gardens matches or exceeds that in natural sites, it is most likely that gardens act as population sinks for B. philenor.

    Aristolochia californica - Battus philenor - Butterfly gardens - Habitat restoration - Lepidoptera

    Contact Information Jacqueline M. Levy

    References secured to subscribers.

    Here is a link that might be useful: pipevine study

  • 16 years ago

    I sent about 100 eggs to a nature center in San Diego that is trying to reestablish the PVS population down there. They have many pipevines.


  • 16 years ago

    I'd like for them to visit my garden!

  • 16 years ago

    You know, I wonder about that particular study. It is just ONE case study, after all and it looks like it was conducted in 2004. Thinking back, what was the weather in the San Francisco Bay area that year? Would that have something to do with the study? I'd like to know what other factors were considered.

    I disagree (my own opinion) but I can definitely attest to the fact that there are more butterflies ever since I've started raising them. I'm not referring specifically to Pipevine Swallowtails, but butterflies in general.

    I was out in the front yard yesterday deadheading the Milkweed when two children went riding their bikes followed by their mother. Mom stopped and said, "Oh! You have butterfly plants, too!" I said, "Yes, I raise butterflies." Then she said, "This must've been where the Milkweed seed came from then...all of a sudden, we had a plant growing in our front yard and now we've got this pretty green chrysalis on our porch. We watched the caterpillar eat and grow." Her daughter turned her bike around and came up to me. I'd just found an egg and she wanted to see it. I told them to start looking for eggs since I'd just found about 1000 in the last two weeks myself. The smiles were a mile wide...

    Abstract gardens are causing butterfly decline and habitat loss? hmmm... I think it is more that PEOPLE are causing butterfly decline and habitat loss due to pesticide use and over-building and destruction of the butterflies' natural habitat. Personal opinion, of course.

  • 16 years ago

    Penny- Which nature center did you send some eggs to so I can be sure to visit it soon! Would love to see what habitat ideas they have to help along the pipevine swallowtail population.

    Yes, this study seemed a bit lopsided. Like I mentioned above I did not like to hear that their conclusion was that gardens do not benefit butterflies.