Saturday, September 5, 2009

Butterfly Morning

Just when I didn't know what I was going to write on this sleepy, Saturday morning, I remembered to check on our caterpillars and chrysalises. We had a butterfly!

It seemed rather frantic to get out and didn't have a lot of room to spread its wings in the container because the stick that had held its now empty chrysalis was dividing the container in half. So with the help of my son, we took it outside and carefully pried off the lid to the container. The butterfly immediately crawled onto my son's hand, up his arm, onto his back, around his neck, up his chin, over his closed eye (at this point the tickly feeling was a little too much), and onto his forehead. I was quickly snapping photos while my son began to get nervous. What mother doesn't want a butterfly/bare skin photo of her child? This butterfly was a quick crawler-- almost as fast as the geckos that hang out all over our house at night.

After coaxing the butterfly off of my son with a stick, I tried to take a few photos with the other hand. Finally, I put him on some lantana to finish drying his wings. We know it is a male because there is more yellow and less blue when the wings are open.

My friend wrote about her chrysalis and some different caterpillars here. We have one large caterpillar munching away, one very small caterpillar munching away, and one green chrysalis which is special to us because all of our other black swallowtail chrysalises have been brown. Our last black swallowtail immediately flew away when we opened the container, so it was a gift to be able to watch and photograph this one up close for a while.

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Jen said...

What a wonderful surprise! I love the pictures, especially the expression on his face... About how long was your caterpillar in the chrysalis, then?

I wish our lantana had grown as well as yours so that we would have a nice landing spot for new butterflies.

Congratulations on your new butterfly!

Julie Nolte Owen said...

It takes about 9-12 days. With this one, I didn't notice the chrysalis becoming as dark and translucent as the last one. It snuck up on me.

Sarah Campbell said...

Lovely photos, Julie. The butterfly is beautiful and you composed these very well -- even with all the chaos.