The first butterflies eclosed from their chrysalids today. The first one (which seems to be the only P. polytes pupa I have... which is strange considering the sheer number of caterpillars I raised this season) hatched around 5am this morning, fooled perhaps by the 24/7 UV light that shines on its cage and the second one is due in a couple of hours time, possibly when I am at work. An unfortunate, but anticipated twist in the turn of events is that the P. polytes that eclosed first was a female. This puts a cramp, somewhat in my breeding operation as I would have preferred to have my females as fresh as possible. No matter, if the chrysalis at home turns out to be a P. demoleus male, all is not lost and I daresay I can attempt breeding them some 2-3 days later. As it stands, I can only reduce the temperature in the room and make sure that the female remains as inactive and healthy as possible.
I've started feeding her with a solution of 15% sugared water but am thinking of "kicking it up a notch" with 100 Plus or Gatorade as I have read online that these make much better nectar substitutes. As it stands, swallowtail butterflies can be notoriously difficult to feed in captivity (they seem to have trouble feeding from artificial flowers soaked in the sugary solution) so hand feeding is sometimes necessary. As is what I did today. The set-up may look quite appalling but it is really quite harmless and is really designed to prevent the butterfly from getting its wings and legs "contaminated" by the sticky syrup thus hindering its movements/damaging it.
|Eat up my baby!|
Anyway I am really hoping this project can come to fruition (am curious and anxious to find out what kind of butterfly will result from the pairing of these two... indeed, if such a pairing were even possible to begin with) but we can only hope for the best! Stay tuned for updates!!!