21 Feb

“It’s Chrysalising!” (said my son)

For anyone still anxiously awaiting caterpillar news, it’s good! I’ve been keeping a close watch on the last caterpillar standing. I’ve noticed interesting behavior too. You’d probably expect a caterpillar to just go randomly about a tree munching anything in it’s path. Nope. Ours seems to have found a favorite leaf to call home (large and relatively sheltered from sun and wind) and then it goes out on food forays, systematically eating all the leaves on a branch. Once satiated each day, it returns to the home leaf for a rest before venturing out again for the next leaf on the branch. Here’s how it looked shortly after I last blogged:

Yesterday, I noticed that it had left it’s home leaf, but instead of heading out for a bite to eat, it worked it’s way down the tree and onto the stem of a ceramic flower I had “planted” in the pot.

Since it had turned from poopy to green in less than four hours, I expected this change to happen rather quick too and watched closely. Over the course of the day, it seemed to compress. It also spit up a little silk sling to hold itself in place, and “let go” of the wire stalk.

And that was it. Instead of a chrysalis this morning, it looked just the same. I admit I was disappointed. However, I think it’s metamorphosis may be temperature dependent. As a sort of aside, my son mentioned this morning that caterpillars have the chrysalis inside them and must shed their outer skin to expose it. Hmmm. I’m not sure where he learned that, but when we returned from shopping mid-day (and the yard was nice and sunny), the caterpillar was wriggling wildly and indeed seemed to be pushing something down it’s body. We were witness to the last bit:

And something definitely did drop off the end of the chrysalis:

And now we have a beautiful, still, chrysalis which will hopefully become an equally beautiful butterfly.

To be continued…

11 thoughts on ““It’s Chrysalising!” (said my son)

  1. Amazing! I am just in awe of what they go through to become butterflies. I also liked its cute little feet and white shorts/pantaloons/?. Thanks for sharing this, I am really enjoying it. Cheers.

  2. In our part of the country (Iowa) monarch caterpillars seem the easiest to find and feed and watch. Even as a gray-haired gramma I always find the change from caterpiller to butterfly so totally, totally amazing and beautiful!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Great pics, too! Your new camera seems to be working out well. As one of your blog readers, thanks for making the investment and taking the time to share this incredible part of nature with us.

  4. I never knew caterpillars looked like that. Those are some cool pictures. As a side note, which I actually learned at church, is that when the butterfly is trying to come out of its chrysalis, don’t help it out, even though it may be clearly struggling. It needs the struggle of getting out to survive. Maybe it was something about strengthening its arms or perhaps it was something else. Well, can’t wait to see the butterfly!

Comments are closed.