Monday, August 22, 2011

A critter, Part 2

In yesterday's post, I showed you the little caterpillar that Courtney and I had found. It made its chrysalis, but it was too hard to get a good photo of it in the cage, so here's an old pic of a couple of chrysalises before hatching, and even one that a butterfly had already hatched from. You can't see it much from the pic, but they are even decorated with pretty gold trim, and it stays on the chrysalis after the hatch. What remains is like a thin cellophane. Amazing.

After it hatched on Saturday, I brought it over to Courtney's place to show her... the monarch butterfly!

It was reluctant to come out of the cage, but with Mommy's help, we got it out.

Courtney, though she found it fascinating, was just as reluctant to hold it. Notice those little hands are not reaching out for it. :)

Isn't it beautiful?

Maybe you noticed, though, that it had a damaged wing (upper right... click photo above to enlarge and see it better). That was because, for some reason, the chrysalis cracked in a couple of places a few days after it was formed. I've never had that happen before, in all the dozens of them I've had in captivity. I was afraid it wasn't going to hatch at all, but I was pleasantly surprised when it did.

Courtney agreed (sort of) to let it sit on her hair:

Then Mommy got the great idea to get a flower for it to sit on so Courtney could hold it. That worked out much better.

Sometimes it didn't cooperate and spread its wings for the photo shoot. Then it got a funny look.

Mommy was also taking pictures. Courtney offered her a VERY close up closeup!

After we all observed the butterfly for a while and got all the photos we wanted, it was time to release it. Since it probably wouldn't be able to fly very well, the decision was made to put it on a mum plant where it could get plenty of nectar. Courtney made the transfer smoothly.

This was the last I saw of it... so lovely!

Courtney checked early the next morning (before Daddy was even up!) and it was still there, but I heard from Mommy this morning that by last evening it was gone. I'll just imagine a happy ending.

For a photo series of the chrysalis making and hatch processes, see this post.


LiEr said...

Candy, it is gorgeous!!!!!! I even didn't mind the photos of the larva - especially the one of it munching away. That could be because 95% of it was actually hidden by the leaf, though. Hm. What beautiful butterflies those monarchs are. Someday, like when the kids move out (i.e. they will be in a different house altogether), it would be fun for them to do this, especially with larva of unknown species. As you said in an earlier comment - what fun to catch and feed unknown wigglies and see what they turn into!

Grandma G said...

Thanks, LiEr! Glad the caterpillar didn't freak you out! ;)

JHRME said...

Sooo pretty!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Beautiful post. We are celebrating the monarch migration in these parts.

Grandma G said...

Thank you! :)