This afternoon, I noticed that more than half my parsley plant seemed to have been cropped off quite neatly. I immediately suspected Old Whitey, the Muscovy Alpha drake who defeated Whitewing to expand his territory into part of our back yard. He looked guilty, as he had been hanging around the herb garden all day. On closer inspection, several brightly colored caterpillars were evident.
They appeared to be the larvae of the Black Swallowtail. This butterfly species has a particular affinity for parsley. In truth, only a few days ago I saw that the parsley was growing too tall and planned to prune it rather severely, so the caterpillars had spared me the trouble. I will leave them undisturbed and watch their progress.
They reminded me of a recent visit to Butterfly World in Coral Springs with house guests from New Mexico. Here, our friend and former neighbor George examines an exhibit of butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.
It is a shame that, despite my love of nature and my appreciation of the beauty of butterflies, I never tried to learn their names. Presumably, these are exotic species.
This one, unnamed species, was a standout.