2013 – The Swallowtail Summer?

The sightings just keep on coming!

  • 6th July – Peter Poore reports – and photographs – a Swallowtail laying eggs on his carrots: you can see the photos on our Gallery page.
  • 12 July – Swallowtail sighted in a Bournemouth garden, on Choisya Aztec Pearl shrub.
  • 23 July – Swallowtail caterpillars reported on fennel in a garden, in Furzehill near Wimborne. Photo below.
Swallowtail caterpillars

Swallowtail caterpillars. Photo: Cheryl Patrick

A few days later the caterpillars had disappeared; our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves, says:

The caterpillars may have progressed into the chrysalis stage – they look fairly mature from the photo. Predation is another possibility: despite having chemicals in their bodies which are distasteful, they can be predated by birds, especially in areas where the species is not well known to local birds. Caterpillars feed for about a month before pupating so it is just possible that these may have offspring of the butterflies seen in the Pamphill area in late May. The continental sub species feeds on a whole range of umbellifers, fennel & wild Carrot. Back in the 1940s, when there was thought to have been a Dorset breeding colony for 2-3 years, caterpillars were found on Wild Carrot. The native Swallowtail of course uses almost exclusively Milk Parsley but I doubt whether any of the recent sightings have anything to do with this.

Leave a Reply