Thanks to the internet, we found out that this little guy was an (eastern) black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). This particular species has a lovely little evolutionary marvel called an orange "forked gland" or osmeterium that they can stick out at will to repel predators and man does it work. The smell was absolutely awful.
However, when left to its own devices it was rather content to chomp on leaves and before we knew it, he was ready to transform.
The chrysalis was finished, and we waited, ready to watch it emerge. Actually, we waited, and waited, and were almost convinced that it had died in there when all of a sudden, we walked past and heard a fluttering. We had missed the emergence and found that the poor thing had crumpled wings and will never fly.
The minions take turns letting it crawl on them and watch it move around. I called Reiman Gardens this morning and talked with one of their Entomologists about what to feed it and he said that even in their ultra-controlled settings sometimes the wings just stay crumpled; it's just one of those things. We have fed it successfully, though I doubt it will live very long. Still, it was an interesting little project and we'll see how things turn out. The minions have named him Seamus.
Actually, there have been plenty of critter sightings around the house lately. Perhaps I should turn this into a bug blog instead of a fiber blog??? No, I will have fiber-y photos to show soon. Here are a few of our new tennants - our fence/surrounding area is prime real estate these days...
Seriously? Look at that mouth! I'll stick with tarantulas, thank you very much!
I wont leave you with that view...
Fiber-y projects to follow soon!