|More than just a "sleeping bag"|
Some interesting facts about butterfly chrysalids
1. The chrysalis IS the butterfly and not just a protective shell within which the caterpillar rests as it transforms into a butterflyNow this is a common misconception many people make and something I always remind juniour lepidopterists. Think of the chrysalis as the insect itself. Insects grow through a series of skin-changes called molts (think snakes!). When the caterpillar has eaten enough it molts its skin as it grows into a larger one. The chrysalis is the caterpillar molting into a stasis stage before it metamorphs into a butterfly. Reminder to children, you CANNOT cut open a chrysalis to watch the butterfly growing inside, that would be like sticking a knife into the butterfly and bleeding it to death! Some caterpillars, however do spin a silken case to protect their chrysalids but this case is called a "cocoon" and must not be confused with the chrysalis itself. To clear this up I've prepared the following video.
Shiny little devils aren't they? But the sheen of the chrysalids fade away to nothingness once the butterfly has emerged. No one really knows why some species of butterflies employ this beautiful but potentially dangerous (to the butterfly as it will more likely be spotted by predators) method of chrysalis but I think that the light reflecting of the shiny surfaces could perhaps mimic the way light reflects off water droplets on the leaves and perhaps deter predators by blinding them as they approach the chrysalis from certain angles.
Have a pleasant november!
"You will always find the single grain of sugar in the salt-shaker that is I"