Around the first of summer, I watched a butterfly flutter around the new leaves of my small orange tree and deposit two very small eggs. She stayed around for another few minutes and then flew away. I examined the eggs carefully as they were on the tips of two different orange leave, and then I didn't think anything more about them and left them alone. I figured that some birds or other insects would eat them. Photo taken from a webpage for caterpillars and moths.
About a month or so later I noticed that a lot of the leaves of the orange tree (which they seem to prefer) had been eaten by something, and as I was searching among the leaves I found two caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail. The caterpillar looked a twig with droppings of white and the head of a snake, so I left them alone to eat as they pleased. I would find them on the leaves in the morning and during the hot part of the day have moved into the shade of the stem or branches.
I wondered what would happen if they were disturbed and when I touched them with a small twig the larger one responded by protruding these two tongue-like things as the defense mechanism, that quickly withdrew into the mouth area.
It was but a week ago that I noticed that one of the caterpillars had found himself a place under a large stem and began to attache and change.
This week I found that both of them had transformed and begun the next cycle of change. I am not sure just how long this process will take but I will keep my eye on them and hope I can get some good shots as the emerge.