Unfortunate news. Though I have been feeding and caring for them in a routine fashion, the male butterfly that hatched not 2 and a half days ago was found dead in the flight cage for unknown reasons. Perhaps the temperature at night was too low for its liking, or perhaps it was just an unhealthy specimen but either way I found myself with one robust, healthy female, but no male to mate her with. As you can imagine, I was quite disappointed (though part of me told myself that perhaps this is a sign that this just was not meant to be). Either way I was about to release my female into the wild (so she can find her own suitor) when lo' and behold... she started laying! Why, I must admit I was taken completely by surprise! Was it possible, that the two different species of swallowtails mated in the flight cage on their own accord when I was away? Or... is it possible for female butterflies to lay unfertilized eggs (the same way some birds and mantids do)? I suppose there is only one way to find out... keep the eggs, and see for myself. I waited half an hour until she had stopped laying and then rubbed her abdomen against the leaves, causing her to expel two more. By the end of this process her bulbous abdomen had shrunk somewhat and when I was sure that there were no more eggs in her, I released her into the great outdoors! Good luck my baby, and I hope you find your way out there!!! As I released her, two rather large swallowtails, Papilio memnon and Papilio helenus swooped down from, oh I don't know where... and fluttered about around her!!! Seems like this baby of mine somehow has a knack for attracting diverse suitors!!! Oh well, to each her own!
On a separate note, I will be expecting a parcel to arrive in a few weeks time. They should contain, among other things, several coveted (by myself) papilionidae butterflies that would no doubt be precious jewels to my collection. I do not wish to reveal them (lest I spoil the surprise!!!) but I can say this much: that two pairs of them are going to be birdwings from Papua, the other six are Parides from Southern America. Oh I can't wait for them to arrive!!! I feel like a child again, in the last few weeks of the year... waiting for Christmas... in June.