This morning, I caught sight of another pupating caterpillar at the moment when the head skin split, so I watched. As often as I have seen this now, I STILL can't get over the mystery of it all.
This one was a late-collected mature caterpillar and was in a clear Bobby-Chez chowder container, so I had a REALLY good, close look. The way the newly emerged chrysalid is defined with impression of ALL the butterfly parts, including 1/2" wings and folded up legs! EXACTLY as you would see it if you caught it the MOMENT the butterfly ecloses from the chrysalid.
Yet, in the 10 days in between, all definition is lost and the smooth hard egg-shaped jewel contains the liquified insides as everything is transformed?
I've been watching the last of the Monarch caterpillars, eating and getting fat. Wondering if they will be ready for their jouney south and knowing that if they make it there they will have to finish their cycle soon. I've been taking care of the plants outside. Our days this week have been in the 90s, almost 100 and it has been very hard to keep their plants alive. I've been watching many adult Monarchs coming in to nectar up for their journey, too. This has been a hard, long, hot summer. I think they will enjoy their vacation in Mexico. God speed.
Mona Miller Herndon, VA (USA) Take care of the small things....