WPC: Evanescent


Sign in Botanical Gardens, San Francisco

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for the week of May 24, 2017.

This week, show us a moment in time that holds meaning for you.

On this morning’s hike I wandered off my regular route to a small side trail that I usually skip. The path is all but obscured by high weeds and crowded by poison oak and thistle plants; you can just see Lake Natoma below through the trees, but reaching the water means clambering over a boulder-strewn drop. Still, it’s a secluded and pretty spot, and after enjoying it I was just turning to leave when I glimpsed a spot of bright red among the weeds.


These familiar little caterpillars usually show up in the warm summer months, inching their way across the bike trail’s asphalt — and frequently getting squashed for their efforts. Here, there’s nothing to disturb them. The more I looked, the more caterpillars I saw all around me, on both sides of the trail. I had stumbled into the lair of the Battus philenor!


Caterpillar haven just ahead


The pipevine caterpillar’s life cycle lasts for a brief 33 days, from egg to its emergence as an adult butterfly. The pipevine swallowtails emerge between April and October, so I’m not sure how much longer these guys are going to be caterpillars; but this quiet little area is clearly very popular with them as they hang out waiting to begin the final stage of metamorphosis. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse before the transformation.



  1. This is a great post. I’ve heard of the pipeline swallowtail, but I can’t say I’ve seen one. Now I’m wondering if they live in Oregon. I’ve got some research to do. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks for the kind words! I always look forward to seeing your posts so I’m glad I could return the favor this time. 🙂

    • Thank you! I tried not to pester these little guys too much but I find them very photogenic.

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