Have you ever been jealous of those who can afford the luxury of occupying the greenest housing options in the world? Well, if you were an anthropod, you may grab hold of the newest 100% efficiency, carbon-free, green housing technology right here in the River North district of San Antonio, Texas. That’s right, Overland’s community garden – specifically our parsley plant – is the new home to three beautiful Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius) caterpillars (aka larvae). For a limited time, when Pheasants water or take breaks in our community garden, pleasant, non-chatty companionship is always just a parsley plant away.

I did some research and learned quite a lot about our new neighbors.

These lucky larvae begin as tiny ovas, like this one attached to flat-leaf parsley.



After 4-9 days, the young larva emerges and grows from a spiny black caterpillar to a more attractive full-grown larva, which takes about 10-30 days.



These fellows make their homes on a plethora of delicious herbs and vegetables, such as dill, fennel, parsley, celery, and carrot.

Once they’ve eaten all of the food we so enthusiastically planted, they will attach to a silk pad with cremaster and support themselves with a silk girdle. They’ll spin a cocoon (pupa stage) and literally hang out for about 9-18 days…

polyxenespupa polyxenespupa2

…until they emerge as beautiful butterflies!


An Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly that recently emerged from the cocoon nearby.



The female Eastern Black Swallowtail (naturally she prefers pink flowers)


The male Easter Black Swallowtail butterfly.

Speaking of new neighbors, it looks as though one of our jalapeno plants may be pulling double duty as a ladybug nursery! We found this neat little cluster of what looks to be either tiny lemon Nerds candies or ladybug eggs. Stay tuned for the results.

eggs 1

eggs 2

In the meantime, we’ll be munching on our first harvest, two jalapeno peppers!jalapenos

  • Jesus

    Beautiful pictures! I had some CSA fneenl that I planted. Once the butterflies discovered the resulting plants, they devoured them. I was thrilled to have such a great nature drama right by my front door for the kids!