We found some black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars eating
parsley in my friend's garden. I brought two of them home, put them in a
butterfly pavilion and gave them lots of fresh parsley. Yesterday, they
were moving around a lot. Today they have not moved. They are not forming a
chrysalis; they are just staying still on a stick and on the top of the
pavilion. They are horizontal and not vertical. Is this normal behavior?
If not, what can I do differently with a new set of caterpillars?
Its possible that the caterpillars were getting ready to form their chrysalis.
If so, they should have done so by now. Otherwise its hard to tell what might
be happening, many things could cause them to stop eating and possibly die.
It could be that the caterpillars are slowing down in preparation to form a
chrysalis. Typically they will stop eating awhile before they become vertical
and form a J.
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Update: June 2012