Pipevine Lifeline: They’re on the Move

by Aug 9, 2017News0 comments

Pipevine Lifeline: They’re on the Move

The Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars disperse from their host plant, the Dutchman’s Pipevine, each summer to pupate. They’ll overwinter inside their chrysalises, and emerge in the spring as newly-minted butterflies!

A few years ago, we found one chrysalis behind a shutter at Bylane Farm. Another caterpillar made its way inside, to the Perch, and formed its chrysalis there. Unfortunately, come spring neither chrysalis was viable. It was likely too frigid and snowy that winter for the one outside, and too warm for the one that ventured inside.

We’ve been tracking the Pipevine caterpillars’ growth and progress, including dispersal. Check out the videos that Summer Field Biologist Krista Botting took before wrapping for the season. Please join us in thanking Krista for a job well done this summer, and all the best for her senior year at Alma College in Michigan.

Come by the Leon Levy Native Garden and help us spot caterpillars and chrysalises on tree bark, stone walls, and the exterior of Bylane Farm– under shakes and behind shutters. And don’t forget that fall is a fantastic time to plant a Dutchman’s Pipevine at your house, to attract and support these amazing butterflies!


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