Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Butterfly House V.2.0

The netted butterfly house was getting a little bit much of a hassle to Maintain. First of all, caterpillars eat a lot and that means they poop a lot too, and since caterpillars are really tiny their... leavings tend to be quite miniscule as well. This means that they get trapped in all the little crevices (especially the lining) of the netting which can be quite difficult to clean... and while caterpillar poop generally does not smell (Thank God for small mercies), leaving them in there could cause fungal growth which may be harmful to the insect larvae so out it was, with the netted breeding pen and in with a more conventional plastic terrarium. The new Butterfly House is basically a large (about 2 by 1 feet) plastic terrarium, the kind you can get in most fish stores, that I have inverted to stand on its side so as to give it more height.

Butterfly House V. 2.0
As you can see there really is nothing to it. The bottom of the terrarium (that was once the side) is lined with newspaper, just so it looks neater and is easier to clean as well and I have placed the stem clippings (with the butterfly larvae growing on them) in a little jar filled with damp cotton balls (something I overlooked in the earlier butterfly house) as this will keep the clippings fresh for days on end meaning that I have to cut a lot less from the plants. They are placed on a little wooden pedestal for elevation and to make it easier to look at.

Suspended Chrysalids
If you noticed in the earlier picture, I have also suspended the butterfly chrysalids from the top of the terrarium. For some reason or other the caterpillar larvae prefer to create their chrysalids along the front-side of the butterfly house. Unfortunately, this (the red wall) is also the door of the enclosure and as I open and close it on a daily basis to add new clippings, remove old ones and check on the remaining caterpillars I feared that my constant ministration might disturb the chrysalids in this dormant stage of their lives. As such I have moved them to the roof by carefuly picking off the silken pad to which the chrysalis is attached to, and then gluing it with organic starch to the top.

Filming a Butterfly Eclosure
The best part of it all is, of course, that I can fit my entire camera in there with its tripod stand which makes for easier filming!

Objects in mirror may be less attractive than they appear!


ken said...

must be quite an experience witnessing them evolve :)

Cyren said...

Yes, Ken. It is quite magnificent. And if you like I will share with you a link of one of my videos :)

Daria said...

share the link with me as well kay...i love to see ur butterfly videos ;)