Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Butterflies!

It's been a very long time since I posted a butterfly update, so here are three:

As you can imagine, lots has been happening. To begin with, I have these pictures of the overwings of a couple of Gulf Fritilliaries. These are very active butterflies -- you might say they the ADHD butterflies -- so it's hard to get pictures of them. Once they emerge from chrysalis, they are ready to go:

Gulf Fritilliary Overwings

This Fritilliary on Judi's fingers was caught in the act of flapping his wings:

Gulf Fritilliary Flapping

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had some Queen caterpillars (Queens, like Monarchs, are milkweed butterflies). Here's what the Queen caterpillar looks like -- similar to the Monarch, but with different coloration, and three sets of tentacles instead of two:

Queen caterpillar

She went into her chrysalis and emerged as a beautiful butterfly. Here are two pictures that we got before she flew away:

Judis Queens Overwings

Judis Queen on milkweed

Having nothing to do with anything else in this post, this is a picture of a Monarch just peeking out of its chrysalis as it emerges. I just liked the moment:

Monarch just emerging

This is a large Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on a sprig of fennel. If you look closely (or click for the larger image), you can see it holding the fennel with its maxillae. They will actually cast around for a sprig, grab it in their maxillae, and pull it towards them before they start munching. It's remarkable to watch:

Black Swallowtail munching

I posted this caterpillar picture for a reason: There will be more to follow about this little guy, because he went on to mark a first for Judi in her butterfly gardening: A closed lifecycle. And he emerged as a stunning butterfly.



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