There's a little spot of garden that I help keep up with some neighbors. Recently, our parsley had been mysteriously disappearing.
After several days of patience, the parsley thief was caught in the act.
It was a Black Swallowtail caterpillar (also known as a "Parsley Worm" or "BS cat" to those hip to caterpillar slang.) This is the caterpillar stage of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Here are a few sketchbook drawings of our BS cat (named Lieutenant Pinkerton) who ate a small forest of parsley before turning into a chrysalis inside a pickle jar in the studio.
And here is the Lieutenant right after turning into a butterfly:
(Photo thanks to Adam Kesner.)
Both male and female Black Swallowtails look identical as caterpillars, and it isn't until they reach the butterfly state that their sex is revealed. The deep blue spots on the wings reveal that the Lieutenant was a lady!
Moments after this photo was taken, she was released and fluttered off into Greenwood Cemetery.