Sunday, 30 January 2011

Chrysalis update...

I've been keeping an eye on the Monarch chrysalis on our fig plant - it has been hanging there, green and gold all week, blowing in the wind, dripping in the rain rain as well as basking in the few sunny days we have had.

Then, this morning, it had changed colour:

The wings of the Monarch were clearly visible through the 'skin' of the chrysalis.

So - I kept on popping out all day to keep an eye on it, then, in the last hour, this happened:

You would never think that something so large could fit into something so small!

I left it drying its wings, and when I came back out to pick mint for dinner, it had moved round the tree.

It was tentatively testing out its wings, as well as trying to find the best position on the leaf.

Unfortunately, it had a lot to learn about the Wellington winds (something that a caterpillar can safely ignore!), and as it was trying to swing itself up on top of the fig leaf, it fell off and started crawling round my olive plant.

As I know that there is at least one spider round there, I decided that I wasn't going to be the ethical naturalist and just stand by, so I put my arm down and let it climb on.

(apologies for the blurriness of this one - I am very right handed, and even taking a photo with my left hand was difficult!)

It crawled around for a bit, but seemed to show no inclination to take off, and the little barbs on the end of its feet were actually rather sharp, so I let it back onto the fig tree. Even though I put it on the top, it decided very quickly that it wanted to go back underneath (probably more sheltered and less visible to birds)

One curious thing that I noticed - this butterfly had only four legs! I'm not sure whether the final pair was folded behind the wings (I didn't see them when it was exploring my arm) or whether something went wrong when it came out of the chrysalis or even when it was pupating.

I hope it does survive - it is such a pretty butterfly!

1 comment:

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh stunning pics Jo - this series should be entered in some nature magazine, it is astonishing to see the monarch emerge out of the tiny chrysalis!
I wonder when it will take off to see the big world?
is it true they only live 24 hours?