Saturday, December 13, 2008
Giant Swallowtail Chrysalis
So the big rue plant that the giant swallowtail caterpillars were eating died. I found it uprooted after the big winds we had in mid-November. I've since planted another Ruta graveolens for next season's caterpillars and I put the dead plant off to the side to be disposed of later. Procrastination paid off. I was looking at or for something else when suddenly the shape of this dead-plant colored chrysalis resolved among the brown rue twigs. So well camouflaged was it I could easily have tossed this future butterfly into the green waste bin. Yet another reason to hold off on tidying the garden.
The chrysalis is rough textured, with fringes that closely mimic bark or dead leaves. There is a sturdy silk strap holding it to the twig. It doesn't seem large enough to hold the largest butterfly in North America.