Archive for the 'Insects' Category



06
Aug
10

female vs. male

I’m posting these two pictures to show the difference between a female and a male monarch butterfly.  On a female, the black veins between the orange sections are wider and the male has the two spots on the rear wings.  Those spots are scent glands that are used to attract females for mating.

Female

Male

05
Aug
10

molting

I read in one of the books that I got from the library that caterpillars molt 4 times while they are growing.  This morning when I was checking on all my caterpillars, I found a molted skin on a leaf by a small caterpillar.  The book said that the caterpillar will then eat the old skin for it’s nutrients, and after checking just now, I see that the skin is gone.

I took the next two pictures yesterday because I thought it was interesting that I could see the outline of the butterfly developing inside the chrysalis.  They turned black during the evening and I had two more butterflies this morning.

03
Aug
10

baby caterpillar

As I was out collecting milkweed to feed my caterpillars on Saturday, I found this tiny little baby caterpillar, so I had to take it home to watch it grow.  I put it next to a large caterpillar and a nickel to give it some perspective, so you can see how tiny it really is.  I measured the big caterpillar and it is 1 1/2 inches long.

This is the same little caterpillar today, Tuesday, and you can see how much it has grown.

By the end of the week it will probably be about as big as the big one in the first picture.

31
Jul
10

a few assorted wildflowers

Musk Mallow

Wild Bergamot

Grass of Parnassus

Wild Mint

Woundwort

Wild Bergamot

Purple Fringed Orchid

Harebell

St. John’s Wort

25
Jul
10

monarch project 2010

This morning I was treated to the opportunity to watch another butterfly emerge from it’s chrysalis.  I had the butterfly house sitting on the kitchen counter with the top off, and just kept an eye on it and had the camera ready.  As I was standing there I noticed the butterfly starting to come out, so I started taking pictures.  I took several pics of it coming out, then I took one picture every minute until the wings were full size.  The whole process took from 11:54 to 12:09.  I also took a few pics of it before I released it.

This is the chrysalis about 1/2 hour before the butterfly came out.

11:54

11:55

11:57

12:09 pm.

2:20 pm.

19
Jul
10

freedom

This is the butterfly that I featured in the previous post.  It came out of its chrysalis at 7:34 am, and I took it outside at around 1:30 pm.  I put it in the daylilies, where it sat for awhile, then flew away.  I took a walk last night and found 3 more caterpillars, who are now happily munching away on milkweed in the butterfly house.

I figured since I was right there, I might as well get some shots of the rain on the daylilies.

18
Jul
10

monarch project 2010

“The more I study nature, the more I stand in awe at the works of the Creator”

~Louis Pasteur~

I was able to witness a miracle this morning.  I have been raising Monarch butterflies for the past few weeks, as I did  last summer.  My goal was to see a butterfly emerge completely from it’s chrysalis, but I seemed to keep missing my opportunity, until this morning.  When I got up I saw that the chrysalis had turned clear and I could see the butterfly inside clearly.  I new it wouldn’t be much longer till the butterfly came out, and I was hoping that it would do so before I left for church.  I brought the butterfly house into the kitchen and propped the top open so I could get pictures.  The lighting wasn’t all that great because it was so overcast outside and the indoor light didn’t help much, so there are a couple pics that are kind of dark because I was so excited at what I was seeing that I forgot to pop up the flash.  I was in the bathroom, when I looked over into the kitchen and saw that there was something sticking out of the side of the chrysalis and I realized that this was what I had been waiting for.  I ran in and grabbed the camera and got some shots, then I took a shot every 2 to 3 minutes as the wings were filling out to their full size.  The whole process took 16 minutes.  It takes several hours after that before the butterfly is ready to fly, in fact, it is still hanging in the butterfly house.  I’m starting this series of pictures with a few from last summer to show the whole process from start to finish.

The caterpillar will hang this way for a whole day before it makes it’s chrysalis.

This is the chrysalis about half-way formed.

A completely formed chrysalis.  It will be 10-14 days till the butterfly comes out.

Around 7:00 this morning.

7:33 am

7:33

7:34

7:34

7:34

7:38

7:41

7:44

7:46

7:49

7:49.  This was the last shot I took.  I have one more chrysalis left.  I’m going to be hunting for caterpillars again so I can keep raising butterflies as long as I can this summer.




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