I planted a brown fennel plant in a container a couple of years ago, hoping to attract swallowtail butterflies to lay eggs on it. No eggs were laid there, no swallowtail caterpillars.
Instead, dry seeds from the plant flew throughout the backyard, and little fennel plants started to sprout in other plant containers.
But this past Saturday I noticed two little black and gold caterpillars on the fennel plant, each 3/8 inches long, munching on fennel leaves.
On Sunday morning I checked the caterpillars and thought it strange that they were completely motionless.
And suddenly first one, then the other caterpillar, quickly shed their black and gold skin.
Now they look a little bigger in their new light green skin with gold, black spots.
I put some netting over the fennel plant to help protect the caterpillar from any hungry birds out there.
We just need to monitor them daily so we can remove the netting in time during their chrysalis stage before they morph into lovely swallowtail butterflies.