Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle
This is the egg of a Giant Swallowtail Butterfly found on a Meyer Lemon Tree.
This first instar caterpillar is only about 5mm long.
When I first say this little guy I though it was a bird dropping
on a leaf on my Meyer Lemon Tree!
He was about 2.5 cm long.
Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar hosts plants are citrus.
The shape and coloring are excellent camouflage.
The projections are a defense mechanism against predators.
he is about a week after I first found him.
He is now about 3.5 cm long.
This is probably a forth or fifth instar.
he is getting ready to go into the Pupal Stage.
He attaches himself with a weblike silk thread to the twig.
This species also supports itself head upwards
with a silken girdle.
he is after 24 hours.
He is actually moving inside!
The wiggling motion is a defense mechanism to scare
away predators trying to eat him.
he is a week later.
is the day before the butterfly eclosed.
on 10/6/09, the butterfly emerged.
Unfortunately, it crawled into a corner
that was too small and the wings dried all crumbled.
This poor little guy will never be able to fly.
is a Giant Swallowtail I photographed on my Papaya Plant
in the backyard.
Here are some views of the undersides of the wings.