Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cabbage Whites VIII

This will probably be the last post on our Cabbage White Butterflies. A lot has been learned and it's been very enjoyable. I'll keep the cycle going for a while if our current eggs hatch. Once you have the supplies, it's pretty simple.

The girls can't fly, so we've been able to get them out of the netting and hold them and even get them to eat out of our hand. 

We got three butterflies from about a dozen eggs (five eggs hatched). Goldilocks, alas, did not make it long. She died yesterday. Her wings were crinkled the worst of all three and she didn't seem to be able to get around very easily. 

Carol has some trouble too. I often find her on her back just waiting for someone to pick her up and put her back on her feet. She seems amiable and enjoys climbing onto our fingers.

These are some of the 15 or so eggs that Carol has laid. No sign that any have hatched yet.

This is Goldilocks feeding. 
You can tell when the proboscis is out because it's a dark color and the legs are a lighter color. Butterflies taste with their feet, so when they're on our hand, we can watch them place their foot on the sugar solution on our hand before they put out their proboscis. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Last Week

A couple more Trick or Treating pics.

 With Mimi and Papa at the Alamo.

 These two are usually big buds. 
Sometimes Jonathan runs out the door too quick and Harrison gets really upset because Jon left him. Sometimes H gets into Lego creations and "accidentally" destroys them and Jonathan gets pretty frustrated with him. 
But this captures their typical relationship.

Cabbage Whites VII

Our hope and prayers were not unfruitful.....

We have three emergent butterflies!
 Of the non-heretical kind, of course.

The first one to emerge was a female. This picture is very close to her emerging. I didn't get a picture of the last stage of a pupa where you can see the eye spots. Once you see the spots, you know they'll be emerging very soon. You can see the tape we used to hold her on after she was dropped several times last week. The silk carpet the chrysalis was attached to is hanging off the bottom.

Microscope picture of the carpet the caterpillar weaves to attach itself to a surface for metamorphosis. 

Microscope pic of the exoskeleton after the butterfly emerged.

The first to emerge, the kids named her Carol.

 A day or two later we got our male Roy. 

And this little lady had some trouble emerging. The Travis kids named her Goldilocks. We actually got to watch her come out. Her chrysalis was formed down low in the plastic container and I think she had trouble getting a foothold to help pull herself out. Then her wings got all stuck in the carpet and silk belt that held the exoskeleton in place and they never did unfold very well. I wonder if the same sort of thing happened to Roy and Carol because Carol has one wing that is curled and she can't fly. Roy can fly but one of his wings is a little bit curled too.

So now we hope for eggs. We put some radish plants in the cage for ovipositing (hopefully!). And I wouldn't use the plastic container for feeding anymore. I would just put everything in the cage and let the caterpillars form their chrysalis on the plant or branch. 

And I need to learn to leave them alone! Sometimes I try to help them and it ends up being hurtful. A lesson in letting go of control can be found somewhere around here....... Hmmmm.