Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's a Girl!

My third (and final, for now) caterpillar has gone through metamorphosis and is now a lovely monarch butterfly flying free. 

Look how fat it was! (And look how fat my finger looks!)
Here it has gone into the "J" shape before it begins to go into the chrysalis...
Although this is blurry, you can see the skin splitting open (then it falls off, ewww!). 
 Twelve days later--a bit longer than the others--the chrysalis begins to change, first becoming opaque, then black, and then transparent.
And despite my getting up very early this morning in hopes of seeing it emerge, I woke up to find this:

 In this photo you can see her proboscis curled up; it is in two parts when they emerge and they roll the two pieces in and out and somehow (how?!) it becomes one tube.
 Look how crazy long her filaments ("antennae") are!

 Amazing to see the tiny bits that make up the wings...

 You can tell it's a female because she is lacking the two dark spots on her wings that identify a male (my other two were both male).

I had to leave for an appointment, and when I returned, she was gone. Yay!

No more butterfly-sitting for me for a while. I've put the milkweed plant outside now...I hope some female--maybe the beauty above?--will come by and lay some more eggs. But not for a while...I'm exhausted! And very very happy that three of the four caterpillars survived and flew away.

4 comments:

vivi said...

Those butterflies were lucky that you were the one who "borned" them!

Anonymous said...

Totally cool -- and Vivi's right, they were VERY lucky to have you looking out for them.

Annette said...

Your pictures should be in a nature magazine. Congrats on the girl....hope she brings you more babies.

Robin said...

So amazing, and really beautiful. Ah, nature.