Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All Quiet on the Butterfly Front


All eleven of our caterpillars are now in chrysalises.




"One of these mornings,
You're going to rise up singing,
Then you'll spread your wings
And take to the sky . . "

Lyrics by Dubose Heyward in lullaby, "Summertime,"  from George Gershwin's PORGY & BESS

7 comments:

PseudoPiskie said...

Interesting that they are all on the cover. Do they look for high places in the wild?

forsythia said...

A couple are on the sides of the glass terrarium. The information sheet we received said that most would probably head for the top of the container. Another sheet said that if you are raising swallowtails, you should put some small branches in your terrarium for them to build chrysalises on, but monarchs apparently don't do that. I don't know what they do outside, and I wonder what happens to them during torrential rain storms. We've had a couple of those this summer.

PipeTobacco said...

It is wonderfully interestin that you are raising bitterflies! I like that idea a lot! I teach about metamorphosis in two of my courses, and it is always very interesting for me to talk about and describe what is going on at the tissue and cellular stages of development in these metamorphic changes. It is so helpful in getting my students to think about development and see it differently. Most biologists focus almost wholly on the adult form, but there is so much beauty in each transformative step!

forsythia said...

What's going on now in the chrysalises must be truly amazing. Caterpillars that were 2 and 1/4 inches long at maturity are now enfolded in chrysalises about an inch long. My husband composed a talk on our butterflies for his Spanish class at the Senior Center. He called it, "Waiting for a Miracle." As you point out, the miracle is now, hidden from our eyes.

PipeTobacco said...

Any new updates? Any emergents yer? I am not sure of your species so I could not predict the time frame. Do any of your species overwinter and need a cold exposure?

PipeTobacco said...

Yer=yet

forsythia said...

According to Rose Franklin, the butterfly expert who sold us the caterpillars, the last ones to hatch in late summer will not breed at this time, but will migrate to Mexico. They will overwinter in the "oyamel fir forests west of Mexico City." I understand that these trees retain enough warmth over the winter to allow the butterflies to survive. The Mexican government is doing what it can to discourage people from chopping down these trees, as they are the firs the monarchs prefer. The butterflies will mate in late February and head for Texas, where they will lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Their lives end at this point and the new generation will continue the journey north. I don't know how many species of monarchs there are. The leaflet also says that some monarchs are permanent residents of California and Florida. I thought monarchs were black and orange, but ours seem to be orange and deep purple. All this is so amazing. While we stood outside waiting for today's hatched monarchs to take off, we saw lots of other interesting bugs and got bitten by seemingly invisible mosquitos.