I showed mercy towards the parsley worms feasting in my herb garden, and this is what I get! Yes, this is a parsley worm all grown up, a newly emerged Black Swallowtail Butterfly on the boxwoods in the front yard. You can see the empty crysallis right above the butterfly's head. My cat, Basil, is the one who alerted me to its presence, poking at it a bit with his paw. I thought it was odd that the butterfly didn't fly away until I realized it had just come out of its pupa and hadn't fully "inflated". Quite an exciting thing to see!
Despite his protests, I put Basil inside so the butterfly could dry its wings in peace. And the parsley worms even left me plenty of parsley for my own use, so it's a win-win. If you ever see some of these critters on any of your parsley-family plants (which includes carrots, dill, and cilantro), you might want to think twice about squishing them.