New garden species

caterpillars!

Papilio machaon (Swallowtail)

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)

Last update: 25 August 2023
garden
species


Uncommon

LOCATION: Krimpen aan den IJssel, garden

OBSERVATION:
2022-VIII-122022-VII-032022-VI-122022-VI-102022-VI-052022-V-302022-V-28


I spotted these small, remarkably coloured and humped caterpillars in Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). In total eight specimen smaller than 1 cm were positioned low to the ground in the plant. These caterpillars were new for me and turn out to be Swallowtails (Papilio machaon). A new garden species!

Unfortunately I missed the ovipositioning adult. Very nice to be able to see these larvae developing. Hopefully I’ll be able to observe some butterflies later on.

2022/v/30

2nd instar

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), first instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

3rd instar

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), second instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), second instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), second instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), third instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

UPDATE 2022/vi/05

4th instar

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), fourth instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), fourth instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

UPDATE 2022/vi/10

5th instar

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), fifth instar caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), caterpillar on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

UPDATE 2022/vii/03

On the morning of 3 September a fresh butterfly was located on the garden tiles. The wrinkled wings on its right side were not developed properly. I have seen this once before in a reared butterfly. I had put the cocoon in a box that turned out too shallow which prevented it from pumping up its wings properly. Possibly something similar had happened here.

It looked like the butterfly could not fly but it actually could. When my daughter had put it on a flower to let it feed, it took off. The right wings were flapping a lot faster to compensate for deformations and generate enough speed to fly. It is nice to see how the brains compensate. The last time I saw the butterfly it was flying rather fast, several meters high and with speedy wing strokes in a straight line out of the garden.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), imago

UPDATE 2022/viii/12

Beginning of August another Fennel plant gave up a 5th instar caterpillar that disappeared a couple days later. Hopefully it will return as an adult in spring.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), imago on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

References

1 Nederlands Soortenregister

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