Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sleeping Beauties

Assorted Swallowtail pupae.
Three more caterpillars pupated today, all within minutes of each other which means that I will probably receive all the adults at the same time as well. This batch truly surprised me somewhat because while I was expecting them to be larvae of the common mormon butterfly (Papilio polytes) it seems, from the shape of their pupae (they have less pronounced 'horns' at the front and their bodies are more tapered, as opposed to the angular pupae of the common mormon) that these will turn into lime swallowtails instead (Papilio demoleus), another somewhat common though equally beautiful species. The amazing thing, I think, about the lime swallowtail is the way its almost white spots on the dorsal portion of its wings gradually yellow as the butterfly ages, sometimes even turning to orange before an aged individual dies! Of course, not many butterflies survive to such ripe old ages in the wild, least of all the lime swallowtail which does not possess chemical defenses against birds and the like. But as I have said, such is nature! Anyway, many of the butterflies have eclosed already, most have been released although in retrospect I should have probably kept some of the birdwings because there is a demand for them right now. Sigh, you know the day you get rid of something you're going to need it tomorrow. That's my philosophy! ...but maybe that's also why I'm slightly disposophobic.

Empty birdwing pupae. I like to keep the shells sometimes because they remind me of what used to be. :P

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