Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Series  LbNA # 67115

OwnerLinden Leaf    
Placed DateNov 2 2013
LocationFerguson Cemetery, Young America, MN
Found By
Last Found
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Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Series

Eastern Black Swallowtail - * make sure to bring your colored markers

For 24 years I have raised many different species of butterflies and moths each year. It is one of my loves so it is only fitting to have a butterfly life cycle series of letterboxes. I have chosen the Eastern Black Swallowtail to highlight because sadly its larvae are considered pests by many people. For information on raising Eastern Black Swallowtails visit: http://www.raisingbutterflies.org/eastern-black-swallowtail/

Box #1:

A male Eastern Black Swallowtail has emerged from his chrysalis. He is on the lookout for a female and she is also out to attract him. Male Eastern Black Swallowtail have much more yellow on their wings than the females. Compared to the males the female Eastern Black Swallowtails have much more blue on their wings. Their life span, as a butterfly, is normally 2-4 weeks.

• Arrive at Ferguson Cemetery, Young America, Minnesota. Visiting hours are from 6 a.m. -- 9:30 p.m. Walk in through the entrance. Find the tower that is missing its fourth leg. Stand with your back to KUNTZ then walk about 15 paces to the edge of the cemetery. What you seek is hiding in the 6th tree to your left.

Box #2:

After the male and female mate, the female goes on her merry way to find the perfect host plant for her eggs. The female Eastern Black Swallowtail is on the lookout for plants in the carrot family. She can lay up to 440 yellowish round eggs before she dies. She will mate with other males throughout her life and can control which sperm will fertilize each egg.

• Arrive at the Church of God Cemetery, Bergen, MN by going west from Ferguson Cemetery. Take Co. Rd 9 north/right. Go east/right on 165th St. then take Zero Ave north/left. The Church of God Cemetery is on your left, fire sign 16819. Start by walking through the cemetery arch till you reach the last stone on your left. This old white stone has a very hungry bird looking for its lunch. Turn to face the tree that the stone is facing. Walk about 24 paces to the row of cedars. The last cedar is holding what you seek.

Box #3:

Most of the eggs will hatch within 4-9 days. When the caterpillars first emerge they look very similar to bird droppings. As they mature their markings become a lovely green, yellow, white, and black. The larvae or caterpillars will feed upon the plants that their mother has laid them on. Some of those plants just may be found in your garden: dill, carrots, fennel, celery, and parsley to name a few. Remember they don't really eat all that much so plant a few extra for the caterpillars. The native flower they enjoy is Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea). The larval stage is anywhere from 10--30 days.

• Take Co. Rd. 9 south/left from the Church of God Cemetery. Take Brush Prairie Rd and when you come to the "T" Lutheran Cemetery, Bergen, MN will be on your left. Walk in through the arch and to your right there are four OLSON's standing guard under a tree. Stand between Adolph and Dina. Walk about 5 paces and reach up to unhook what you seek.

Box #4:

Once the caterpillars have become as plump as they can, they will find a place to pupate. The caterpillars will pupate in the typical swallowtail "head-up" position attached at the posterior end to a silk pad by the cremaster and supported by a silk girdle. After about 24 hours they will shed their skin one last time and form their chrysalis. As a camouflage the chrysalis will take on the color of its surrounds by being green and yellow or brown and cream. In about 18 days they will break free of their chrysalis. If the caterpillars are late season caterpillars, they will over winter as a chrysalis and emerge the following spring when the weather has warmed.

• Take Bergen Rd south till you reach a crossroads. Follow Bergen Rd to your right. There is a family of posts that line the road. Continue on the road till you reach the Momma and Papa posts just past the cross. Walk between Momma and Papa and stand facing the second evergreen. Look down but not on the ground and unhook your find.