Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eclosure of a Swallowtail Butterfly *photo sequence*

Hey guys!

It's been almost a week since the parental units left for their second honeymoon in Sydney, Australia and it will be about a day or so before they return. In the meantime, I've had a taste of what it would be like "holding the fort" all on my own and let me tell you, without someone there to prepare your meals for you all the time well... let's just say its very tempting to resort to a less-than-balanced diet by eating out and snacking off instead! Guess whose having pizza (again) for dinner tonight!!!

Anyway another one of my common mormon chrysalids eclosed today, was really happy to see it but its a pity that it was (yet again) another male which means I still don't have any females with which to breed them. No matter he's such a beautiful specimen and I am particularly fond of this species (mostly because it is relatively easy to breed but also because of the lovely tails on their hind wings)
These are two of my un-hatched chrysalids. The Common Mormon Swallowtail
 chrysalis on top the lower one belongs to a Lime Swallowtail.

Common Mormon chrysalis about to eclose. I love photographing chrysalids
at this stage of their development. It shows you the butterfly all snug and
waiting for its time inside its cradle.

And the moment arrives! With just the slightest, almost inaudible, cracking sound the top of the
chrysalis splits open and the butterfly tastes for the first time, the sweet scent of air.

He wriggles about and works his legs, head and antenna free, knowing for the first time
in his life, what it is like to see and visually sense the world around him.

Carefully, the butterfly hoists himself out of the chrysalis. His wings are still damp and limp from his two weeks
of incubation and so he uses his legs to crawl to a high ground to avoid predators but also
to ensure that the tools of his survival will properly develop in this crucial stage.

As he hangs from his chosen perch, seemingly motionless, his heart begins to pump blood, or
more specifically hemolymph into his veins, stretching his wings out to their full extent.
As his wings reach their full capacity, he begins to open and close them. Carefully making sure that each
wing will function the way it is supposed to. Eventually the veins in his wings will harden and form
the skeleton that is the wing-frame and he will be able to fly and fullfill his destiny,
from flower to flower, garden to garden.

All in all a succesful eclosure and I am very proud of my little-one for coming this far! Indeed, it doesn't matter how many succesful eclosures I witness, each one still brings the same ammount of joy and pride to my heart! Unfortunately, because it is a rather damp and rainy day today this one will have to stay indoors and feed (for now) upon my home-made mixture of butterfly nectar until tomorrow comes.

Feeding from my butterfly-feeder
The proud father to a new-born butterfly :D

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Cyren, what a beautiful blog! Thanks for stopping by mine and for bringing me here!:) I've never seen a butterfly actually emerging. Your pictures are amazing!!!

Thanks for pointing out that fact in my swallowtail post. It was a guess. I'd love to come and check out your posts again.