Sad news

I regret to inform you that I will not be able to share the magic of a Black Eastern Swallowtail butterfly emerging from its cocoon with you all.

I came out the other morning to discover this.


I thought at first maybe a bird had raided it – we have a robin’s nest full of babies in the tree behind us, and the parents have been working overtime to keep their brood fed.

But then I did some research…

We knew about parasitic wasps that attack the caterpillars when they are feeding, but we figured since it made it to chrysalis, we were safe. Sadly not. Apparently there is another parasitic wasp that lays it’s eggs on the caterpillar while he is building his cocoon. Then they get built inside with him, and eat him up when they hatch. The tear a hole in the side when they are ready to fly away. He was basically toast from the minute he stuck his butt to that stick.

So all this time, I thought I was raising one of these…


But I’ve really been raising a whole bunch of these…

Brachymeria podagricus by Graham Montgomery Harris Co TX

Nature is a cruel mistress.

12 thoughts on “Sad news

  1. You scared me for a second there. I thought something had happened to one of the cats.

    But, sad for the poor butterfly too. I had just read about that wasp. Apparently, we have them here too.


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