Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chrysalis City

We're loaded with caterpillars, chrysalids, butterflies and moths. I keep finding them all around the house and it is very distracting and I filled up the memory stick in my camera.
I have to quit going outside.
I was pulling dead caladium leaves in the garden and keeping an eye out for chrysalids but still I managed to overlook this one - of a sulphur butterfly. It was on the ground and ants would likely have gotten to it soon.
I tied the dead leaf to my bamboo trellis. After about a week the butterfly emerged:

I found this sulphur butterfly chrysalis around back a few days ago hanging from the siding - it's much darker to blend with the colorings here.
It emerged today and hung around on the patio while its wings dried - it had the same wing curl as the one pictured above. After it started flying clumsily, it landed in my hair twice and sat for a few minutes, then flew over to my dead/dying sunflowers stalks.

This is (I believe) a swallowtail butterfly chrysalis, also found in the back hanging from the siding.

Unfortunately I discovered the ants had infiltrated when I went out to check on it. They also took out a gulf fritillary chrysalis in the front yard. %*^@&!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gulf Fritillary Butterflies

The passion vine growing on the trellis by our front window has attracted a bunch of Gulf Fritillary butterflies. They are quite pretty and flutter around maniacally. Apparently passion vine is one of their favorite buffets, and they've laid lots of tiny eggs that have recently hatched.

The eggs develop into caterpillars that are bright orange with scary black spikes. They've been chewing up the leaves of my passion vines and I was pleased to discover a few chrysalises several days ago.

Here a larva begins to transform. Its rear end is attached to a vine with the head hanging down, and its bright orange changes to a sickly, milky shade.

Both these chrysalises were hanging from the same bamboo stake. They formed at the same time, but they stayed different colors throughout their span. I don't know why the difference.... is one male and one female?

I went out to check them this morning at 9:30.... the dark chrysalis was now empty (darn, I missed it) and the lighter one's butterfly was already fully emerged and drying its wings. Such a beauty! After a few minutes it flew to the ground and briefly walked on my hand. A lovely way to start my day :-)