I noticed this beautiful caterpillar on this dill stalk a few days ago, and it was still there today, and growing larger, so I decided to take a photo, and am hoping I can witness and document, the metamorphosis into a butterfly.
I am really excited, because after seeing the Swallowtail not able to get into the other dill bed the other day, due to the bird netting, I was somewhat distressed. But when this dill went to seed, the stalk shot up, through the bird netting, and developed its umbel, which the butterfly would have been able to land on, and lay it larva.
Once it turns into a chrysilis, and then a butterfly, I want to be sure and release it (it will be trapped in the bed because of the bird netting thats covering it). It should be safe to observe for a few hours, without having to worry about killing it.
I have collected butterfly caterpillars before, so I have confidence all will turn out well. When my kids were little, we collected caterpillars we found out on the parsley, put it in a fish bowl, feeding it fresh parsley, covering the top with a coffee filter (so it couldn't crawl out, but got air, and had a place to hang from when ready) until it turned into a chrysilis, and then a butterfly. I have a great photo of my daughter holding the beautiful swallowtail butterfly when she released it. It's a wonderful learning experience for kids to witness.The best picture book on the subject is The Caterpillar and the Polliwog, by Jack Kent. We read it at least a million times. I wish I owned a copy, we would renew it at library constantly.
Collecting the seed of the dill is a little more tricky for me, then the cilantro or parsley. As you can see in the photo, most of the seed has already fallen and scattered. Hopefully I will get better at recognizing the precise time to collect. There are a few seeds left on this umbel, so I bagged it and hung it, to finish its drying. I'll take whatever I can get.