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Giant Swallowtail on Hercules’ Club | Wildlife Wednesday

Papilio cresphontes chrysalis

Papilio cresphontes chrysalis

Papilio cresphontes chrysalis

Finding a caterpillar chrysalis in the wild can be quite the feat and is something you typically have to be looking for. Even in my own garden, when the monarchs or gulf fritillaries head off to pupate, unless they are front and center and attaching them to our front porch (gulf frits) or on plants nearby the milkweed (monarchs) we typically cannot find the chrysalides. Chris lucked out as he was tying extra ropes from the tent to a nearby tree in preparation for a storm that would hit during our Thanksgiving camping trip that was expected to have high wind—and found a chrysalis on the Hercules’ club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) that was conveniently placed next to our tent (or rather, we placed conveniently next to the tree!). Herculues’ club is a larval host plant for the giant swallowtail butterfly and a plant I’ve been trying to find to add to our yard so I can pick caterpillars off our citrus and relocate them there. I looked up and down the tree to see if I could spot more chrysalides but none were found. I can only hope that other campers in that site end up leaving the chrysalis alone!

Definitely a lucky find!

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