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Susea’s still with us

Once we discovered that Elmo was laying eggs, we renamed her Susea (pronounced sue-sea). :o) She’s 26 days old today. Which is quite something because, according to our butterfly book, anise swallowtail butterflies usually only live 6 to 14 days.

When Susea was a week old, Tiny emerged. We decided to put him in with Susea for a couple of days. It turned out that Tiny was a fellow, and we hoped that they might choose one another as a mate. So, just in case they did, each day I saved all the eggs that Susea laid.

In the meantime, we found some more caterpillars. Katypillar joined us by accident. One day when I brought home some fennel sprigs in preparation for the possible “hatching” of Susea’s eggs, I found that there was a teeny weeny caterpillar on one of them. I was thankful I’d been carefully handling the sprigs near the bottom ends as I put them into a small jar of water.

Another day I found a second very small one. This time I was looking on purpose, though. The fennel plant that Fenny was on didn’t look like it would be able to support any new caterpillars, so I brought her(?) home. And then a few days ago, I had a thorough look at the same dwindling plant and discovered Mini, Mo and Jack. I think they might have been just a couple of days old. Here’s a picture of the triplets.

Two of them, Mini and Mo, were still on the flowers where their eggs might have been. Jack had ventured farther away.

I think that’s the last of our raise-lings for this year. So far none of Susea’s eggs have yielded offspring. Even though I was hoping there might at least be a few wee ones born here, I have to admit that I was a bit concerned that there might be MANY. As it is, it’s going to be a challenge to make space on our back patio for 5 more chrysalises to overwinter since they need to be kept out of direct sun. But it’s been worth it and hopefully they’ll all successfully overwinter and emerge next spring. Once again it’s been an awe-inspiring process to watch.

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