Naturalist Jennifer Rupp shares news of a new discovery on the grounds!

Pipevine Swallowtail Catepillar“Goin’ Buggy” isn’t just the theme of one of our preschool summer camps this year; it is a part of EVERY summer camp this year!  I’m not referring to the penny sized mosquitoes that can be found in Linn County, but to the rest of the fantastic bugs that can be found here at the Nature Center!  To go a day without finding a nifty bug to look up in a Bug ID book is rare whether you’re spending the day creek stomping, fishing, or caving.  One of the neatest creatures we’ve found this week is the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).

You may have heard of the Monarch and their favorite food—milk weed.  The Monarch is an adorable yellow, green and black caterpillar.  They grow in to their striking orange and black wings after changing in their chrysalis.   Every butterfly goes through this transformation we call metamorphosis.  The Pipe Vine Swallowtail is no different in that regard. 

Pipeline Swallowtail 2As the name implies, the Pipevine Swallowtail eggs/larvae can be found on the Pipevine plant.  You can find some of it growing near the teepee in the butterfly garden.  The Pipevine is a native plant which was introduced at the Nature Center several years ago in a successful attempt to bring these beautiful butterflies back to this area, as there had been no reported sightings of this butterfly in years.  The caterpillars are a ferocious black with red spots, looking quite intimidating to humans and predators!Swallowtail Butterfly

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