Archive for the 'Random Pathways' Category

07
Aug
10

amazing change

I finally got to watch a caterpillar shed it’s skin and form a chrysalis today, and of course, I got pictures too.  The caterpillar will hang upside down for a day or so before it changes.  The book I read said that once it’s filaments (antennae)  wither, it will start shedding it’s skin in about a half hour.  I noticed that one of them had withered filaments so I hung around to watch the change.  The caterpillar’s outer skin splits at the bottom (it’s head) and it wiggles and moves around and pushes the skin up towards the top, where it will fall off.  This stage is called “pupa”.  After a few hours, this new skin hardens and is then called the chrysalis.  The whole skin shedding process took 5 or 6 minutes.  It will hang like this for 10-14 days, after which, a butterfly will emerge.

About 5 minutes before it started changing.

10:58 am.

11:03.

This pic and the next one were taken 2 hours later.

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27
Jul
10

vervain

I have some serious catching up to do here.  I took these pics over two weeks ago out at Piers Gorge.  I have more flower pics from that outing, but I want to devote this post entirely to Vervain, because it is my favorite wildflower. It seems to like moist areas, because I find it in ditches and near rivers.  The blossoms are actually a much deeper, richer shade of purple than what shows here.  I can’t seem to capture their true color, no matter how I set the camera.

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.

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.

27
Jun
10

monarch project update

This is the chrysalis that the caterpillar made yesterday morning.  After another search today, I have six more caterpillars, making a total of 13.  A couple of them are on the top screen in the butterfly house, so I figure they’ll probably make a chrysalis pretty soon.  I’m hoping to get pictures of that process if I can.  My main goal is to get pictures of a butterfly emerging.  I redesigned the butterfly house so that it will be easier to get pictures of the butterflies inside.

My good friend, Jack, mentioned that while I had pictures of yellow hop clover, pink clover and purple clover, I have not posted pics of white clover yet, so when I went for my walk in the woods today, when I came out onto the field where all the clover is, I took some shots of the white clover.  So, needless to say, this next picture is for Jack.

26
Jun
10

random saturday

Well, after a couple cups of coffee this morning,  I hit the ground running.  We went out to Camp 6 Lake and my husband fished and I kayaked.  When we got home, we had lunch, I showered up and then I went to visit my neighbors for awhile.  When I got back, we went out to Seidel Lake and I kayaked while my husband fished.  We made a couple stops to visit family on the way home, and after supper, I went for a walk and found 5 more Monarch caterpillars.  I now have 7 caterpillars.  One of the caterpillars that I found the other day has already made it’s chrysalis this morning and I’ll take pics tomorrow and post them.  The following pics were taken throughout the day.

I forgot to mention that as I was taking my walk I startled a mama bunny who was nursing her 4 babies.  I didn’t mean to scare them, and the mama ran off as well as one of the babies.

23
Jun
10

monarch project 2010

Last year I decided to try raising Monarch butterflies in my home, and it was a great success.  I built a special “butterfly house” for them to stay in.  It is basically a wooden frame enclosed with screen.  When the caterpillars were ready to form a chrysallis, they climbed to the top and hung from the screen.  I found about 5 or 6 caterpillars, (I can’t remember for sure) and not a one died; they all became butterflies.  When they did, I simply released them outside.  I got to see a few of them form the chrysallis, but I never got to see them emerge.  I was always a little late and missed every one.  If you’d like to see the pictures, you can look in the archives of this blog for July and August of 2009.

Anyway, yesterday, while I was out for my walk, I found two caterpillars.  I picked a couple milkweed stalks for them to eat and they are now happily munching away in the butterfly house.  I’m planning on trying to find as many as I can throughout the summer, so I can raise them indoors.  I will post more pics as they progress.

This little guy is only 1/2 inch long.

This one is almost 1 1/2 inches long.

I put tape over the open spaces on the jars because last year I almost lost one in the water, plus they poop ALOT and this keeps the poop out of the water.  I have newspaper spread out underneath the butterfly house.

The butterfly house.  I need to change the design slightly so that the top can open up.

Just thought I’d throw in a few pics from yesterday as well.  This is milkweed, just starting to open.

St John’s Wort

Skipper




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