A Win, Win Situation
After hatching from its egg (the first instar stage)the Eastern Black Swallowtail enters its second instar stage. It is only about one eighth of an inch and will stay on one flower for many days. The first photo is a photo when the caterpillar is in the second instar stage.
This second photo is an Eastern Black Swallowtail in its fourth instar stage. It is the last stage before it builds its chrysalis and the caterpillar is voracious. One caterpillar can devour a whole small plant (parsley is a favorite) stem and all.
I found these guys on my parsley--lots of them! To save my parsley I planted some in a garden on the other side of my house and transplanted the culprits. They thrived and grew big and fat.
I netted my other parsley so I could save if for cooking. It was a win, win situation.
Image Credit » Two Tourists Photo