Saturday, November 8, 2014

Moar 'Pillars!

So, last we left off, we had a few goobered chrysalises, a fritillary chrysalis that wouldn't stick, a new housing container to try and a few black swallowtail caterpillars.

First the updates:
There was one goobered chrysalis actually looked like it might turn out okay so I left it be.  It eventually turned black like it was going to emerge, but it never did.  I even left it out in the sun on the weekend hoping that would help.

Then there was the fritillary chrysalis that I had to tie to a twig.  It did eventually hatch, but one of the forewings was goobered:

For comparison, it should have looked like this:

The little bugger couldn't fly, but since it could eat perfectly fine, I took him outside and put him on some flowers so he could live out the rest of his little life.

Then there were the black swallowtail caterpillars.  The lighter of the two (i.e. the one that looked more like a regular black swallowtail caterpillar) ended up dying - it just stopped eating and then turned to mush.  The darker one, however, remained fine.

A few days after I took the above picture, I put him in a yogurt cup house with a few skewers in it (for him to have something to attach to).  A day or so after being moved, he formed a chrysalis.  He's now ensconced in the laundry basket home waiting to hatch.
Black Swallowtail chrysalis from the side.
Black Swallowtail chrysalis from the front.

And finally, the update on the new housing container - I was going to let the monarch hatch in the yogurt cup, but because I was going to be gone for the whole day, I opted to take the lid off and leave the chrysalis outside to hatch.  I just used two clothespins to pin the lid (with chrysalis) to a tomato cage.  It must have worked because when I came home, the chyrsalis was empty.

And now for the NEW stuffs!

One of the days when I was outside collecting milkweed leaves for the monarch caterpillars, I saw a bunch of Queen butterflies flitting about and figured that meant that I'd end up with queen caterpillars on the milkweed.  Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, there was a queen working the milkweed plants, so I took some of the leaves with eggs off and brought them inside to hatch and raise.

Queen caterpillars are also yellow, black, and white but the pattern is a little different; but the most easily seen thing that lets you know you have queens instead of monarchs is the 3 sets of antenna-looking things instead of only 2.  This picture is probably of the 4th instar (the antenna things don't really form until the 3rd instar...but of course, some of that is they're tiny little buggers until about the 3rd instar - seriously - the first instar was about a millimeter long), and I've since moved them into the now empty yogurt containers for chrysalis formation.

I swear I'm almost done with the caterpillar updates - I'll probably stop after these guys hatch.  Maybe.  No promises.


Debra said...

I am amazed you are able to find so many different chrysalises. Just wondering: if the queen butterflies are laying eggs now would those eggs normally overwinter and hatch in the spring?

Roberta said...

All of this makes me wish that we were neighbors. Like, right next door neighbors :)

katina said...

@debra - So far, all the queen eggs I've found have hatched, so I would guess that they wouldn't overwinter and instead would just die. In other words, butterflies are doing what we do as gardeners - plant something on the fringe of the season and hope for the best.

katina said...

@Roberta - me too. Me too.