Category: butterfly gif

nanonaturalist:

nanofishology:

Butterfly House at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. One of the better ones I’ve been in!

Visited the museum for this post December 2016, desperately need to go back (yes, I have been there again since, but still).

Fun fact: when I first started raising butterflies, I looked back to this post to see how they had hung their chrysalids to figure out how in the heck to do it myself. I couldn’t figure it out so I developed my own method. But now that I know what I’m doing, I can tell you: that cord the chrysalids are hanging off is probably silk, and they have probably wrapped the silk mats the caterpillars laid down around the cord. So simple! Either that, or they used a super secret butterfly glue I don’t know about because I’m not in the Butterfly Blood Brotherhood.

Reposting July 9, 2019

@xbainekox Human skin is a great barrier, and it protects is from all sorts of nasty stuff, but other animals are much more sensitive. Superglue contains some extremely toxic organic solvents, which could very quickly absorb through the chrysalis skin and harm the developing butterfly.

There is a TEENY TINY part of the chrysalis, called the cremaster, which is the thick sturdy part that hooks onto the silk pad (it’s the “stem” part). I think this could safely be glued, and if folks are using superglue, they are doing it here. I’d just be so worried I’m screwing up, and the chrysalids I’m hanging do not have well-defined cremasters!

The method I use now works well enough, and nobody is ever in danger.

July 10, 2019

nanofishology:

Butterfly House at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. One of the better ones I’ve been in!

Visited the museum for this post December 2016, desperately need to go back (yes, I have been there again since, but still).

Fun fact: when I first started raising butterflies, I looked back to this post to see how they had hung their chrysalids to figure out how in the heck to do it myself. I couldn’t figure it out so I developed my own method. But now that I know what I’m doing, I can tell you: that cord the chrysalids are hanging off is probably silk, and they have probably wrapped the silk mats the caterpillars laid down around the cord. So simple! Either that, or they used a super secret butterfly glue I don’t know about because I’m not in the Butterfly Blood Brotherhood.

Reposting July 9, 2019

nanonaturalist:

A big, fat Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) lady came out of her chrysalis today, but we had a storm in Austin and I didn’t want to release her in the rain! So I gave her some plum, over-ripe banana, and a paper towel soaked in hummingbird nectar (4 parts water, 1 part sugar). She went for the nectar and the banana when I watched her!

Had to take photos through the sides of the enclosure she’s sharing with a Gulf Fritillary and Question Mark, both also came out today. I wasn’t able to photograph them, though! These look like I’m a sneaky butterfly paparazzi, huh?

For the Asterocampa butterflies, the females are larger, have a fatter abdomen, and the bottom wing (called the hindwing) is rounded out. In the males, the hindwing is more triangular, the outer edge is straight, not circular.

June 27, 2019

About to release, Question Mark nomming banana

June 28, 2019

A big, fat Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) lady came out of her chrysalis today, but we had a storm in Austin and I didn’t want to release her in the rain! So I gave her some plum, over-ripe banana, and a paper towel soaked in hummingbird nectar (4 parts water, 1 part sugar). She went for the nectar and the banana when I watched her!

Had to take photos through the sides of the enclosure she’s sharing with a Gulf Fritillary and Question Mark, both also came out today. I wasn’t able to photograph them, though! These look like I’m a sneaky butterfly paparazzi, huh?

For the Asterocampa butterflies, the females are larger, have a fatter abdomen, and the bottom wing (called the hindwing) is rounded out. In the males, the hindwing is more triangular, the outer edge is straight, not circular.

June 27, 2019

Variegated Fritillary, before and after

The orange spots on the chrysalis are metallic
One day apart, chrysalis May 20, butterfly May 21, 2019

A Dilemma

I am but one person with too little time and too many hyperfixations and even though my yard is actually kinda small it ends up taking on a life of its own because hey let nature do its thing, right? What’s the worst that could happen?

*sigh*

So, right now, the very back of my yard is a mini-forest of hackberry, elm, and soapberry saplings about chest high (so thick you can’t walk through them without cutting them down, it’s a situation). Behind those, there’s this tangled mass of common hedge parsley and catchweed bedstraw. Both of these plants are terrible. The catchweed is essentially nature’s velcro and it tears into your skin as a bonus. The parsley is fine until is goes to seed—I have clothes I can’t wear until I sit down for a few hours and pick all the burr-covered parsley seeds off them. No, they don’t come off in the wash.

The back of the yard is the worst, but the catchweed and the parsley are all over my entire yard (along with the invasive rescue brome grass I can’t get rid of). I’ve been picking as much of it as I can every time I go outside. I want to destroy ALL OF IT!!!

Except… uh… today while I was watering my trees… uh…

Sorry for the grainy quality, I was far away. But… uh… Swallowtail Butterfly host plants include… plants in the… carrot family…

You know, like… parsley? She laid several eggs while I watched, and I found three total. I know there’s gotta be more. Well, I guess that’s one host plant I’m not going to fun out of… and I’ve never raised swallowtails before!!!

So I put the plants with the eggs inside, and went back to watering. Okay, maybe I don’t hate parsely as much. But I still hate catchweed. GRRR!!!

Oh! Hello Mexican Honey Wasp friend! What are you doing over here?

Wait… are you…

Nectaring on…

Catchweed?!

I watched this wasp, and… yes. The only flowers that seemed to interest her were these tiny catchweed flowers.

Well. I guess I’m not pulling out all of the parsley and catchweed. As if I’d have been able to in the first place.

Just goes to show how even “weeds” are essential components of any ecosystem. My current situation is just a gross imbalance of three particular species.

March 18, 2019

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I just found FIVE MORE QUEEN EGGS!!!

August 18, 2018

It gets better! First, I found six more eggs today:

Happy family 🙂

Second, I met the mom of at least some of them:

^^^ that’s not a queen! That’s a monarch!

August 19, 2018

7 of the eggs are hatching today!!!

August 21, 2018

The 7 that hatched are all monarchs!

While collecting food for the babies, I also brought in three more eggs. These babies are in the generation that will migrate to Mexico 😀

August 21, 2018

Stripes are in! Look how hungry!

August 22, 2018 (morning)

Since my last update, the number of Monarch caterpillars in my care has grown to more than 20 and I’m still finding more every day. With the Queens, I limited myself because I had finite milkweed and didn’t want to run out. But my milkweed plants have grown, and I know what to expect (these babes are very efficient!).

I updated my “tiny baby” habitat to keep them safer and the milkweed fresher. Working great so far! My oldest caterpillars are third instar now. The two close-ups of the baby show him after he molted. His old face is still next to him, and his tentacles hadn’t inflated yet (still curled up like they were under his old skin).

August 25, 2018

Peekaboo!

There are so many of these things. I am exhausted. The eat so much. They grow so fast. I can’t keep up with them.

August 26, 2018

I was able to give away about 15 caterpillars/eggs. So… 50 of these buttmunches. Well, maybe fewer because they KEEP EATING EACH OTHER STOP IT

August 27, 2018

Save me

They’re eating my milkweed faster than it can grow!!!! I came downstairs before dawn because I had nightmares they ran out of leaves and were starving. And my nightmares were almost true—only a few pieces of leaf left!

Thy are so fat and so hungry and they won’t stop! I’m going to need to find a wild milkweed source on a roadside somewhere!!

August 28, 2018

[note: I guess reblogs are broken now because most of the text from the previous post got cut off?? *sigh]

Drastic measures to be taken

When I got home, the babs had eaten EVERYTHING. NOTHING WAS SAFE. I am running out of milkweed. I don’t think I have enough to last *this* batch through adulthood, let alone the 30+ (save me) newborns. So I guess I’m going out tonight with a shovel and a flashlight trying to look 100% not suspicious as I dig up milkweed on the side of the highway.

August 28, 2018

Okay, slightly less panicking (although if you know me, that’s still a lot). (And also, can we talk about how absolutely horrible reblogs are now ??????)

One of my neighbors has milkweed and I can basically come over tomorrow morning and cut their entire plant to a stump since they didn’t get caterpillars (they probably did, but the wasps would have stolen them)

My Snowberry Clearwing Hookup Who Works At A Nursery thinks they might have received milkweed plants in stock and will text me in the morning to confirm/deny

A butterfly club member who runs a private nursery (no pesticides!!) has A Ton of milkweed plants which is good news for the 30 NEWBORN QUEENS. Downside: it’s outside of Killeen. For non-Texans, I will translate: two hours of driving with no traffic (so more like three hours in reality). This is in the morning on a work day. Work commute is just under 2 hours if I’m lucky.

I hope these sausages realize how LUCKY they are!!! (They don’t)

August 28, 2018 😩

EVERYTHING IS OKAY

Neighbor had a lot of milkweed plants!!! Hopefully I come home to chrysalis apocalypse instead of naked stems. These plants will only last so long, and I still have the batch of newborn baby Queens and Monarchs to feed.

So I bought more milkweed! My Snowberry Clearwing hookup got a ton of brand new beautiful swamp milkweed plants 😍 Hopefully they survive the caterpillars!

I lost a lot of sleep over these babes last night, but what’s new?

August 29, 2018

In mourning

There was pesticide residue on at least one of the plants from my neighbor. I should have known better 😥 I rinsed off the plants but there were so many and I was so tired that I didn’t wash with soap and water like I usually do. I lost five of my babies last night, maybe more today. I won’t post the photos of them since pesticides are so horrible that seeing what happens to the caterpillars is more traumatic than any horror movie. I’m so sad I almost stayed home from work.

I didn’t have all the babes together, so the smaller ones were not exposed.

Have some cute/happy gifs:

*sigh*

August 30, 2018

After days and days and days of nonstop anxiety attacks, FINALLY I came home to some good news. Two babies pupated safely! Three more are putting down their silk pads! They hadn’t eaten all their leaves!

Huge sigh of relief. You guys don’t realize how stressful the caterpillar life is. WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS??? Oh right, they’re cute and stumpy :3

August 30, 2018

Some momentary relief!!! Most of them are ready to pupate or have pupated already. Babes are still eating my milkweed to sticks (so hungry) and they are still cute and tentacly (??) buttheads.

August 31, 2018

Down to the last two Monarchs (from this batch, still have a couple smaller babies). The rest are these weird green things hanging from the ceiling! I put a light behind one of the chrysalids so you can see it’s mostly filled with liquid!

I’m so tired. Monarchs are exhausting and hard to raise. Why is this the species beginners start with?!? I need to plant some milkweed seeds and grow the entire plant indoors, because even though I wash all my leaves with soap and water before every feeding, I am still bringing in the horrible black death disease (on top of the pesticide residue from the neighbor’s plants that claimed some of my babies).

I am ready for a break, jeez.

September 1, 2018

I’m so proud

The first two Monarchs are here (and my last three are about to pupate). Based on raising both Queens and Monarchs, I can safely conclude that Monarchs are testy little turds why would anybody want to raise them?? I have never had a CATERPILLAR angrily BITE ME before when I tried to break up any one of countless caterpillar fights. It’s too bad Queens have such a restricted range!

The enclosure is absolutely covered in chrysalids it’s hilarious.

September 6, 2018

regnum-plantae:

Raising Pieris brassicae

When I sat one of the RHS horticulture exams last February I had to describe and illustrate the life cycle of the large white, a common pest of vegetables in the Brassicaceae family. Although I had to learn it from books, I had never had a chance to observe all its stages in person so, when I spotted one of these common butterflies taking shelter and depositing her eggs under the leaves of the nasturtium (Tropaleum majus) in my window boxes, I took it upon myself to try and raise them to adulthood. I had never raised butterflies before, so I was particularly excited. 

The tiny yellow eggs hatched in four days and the caterpillars started feeding voraciously on the fresh nasturtium leaves I was providing daily. They grew rapidly and soon started showing their typical mottled yellow/black/green colouration, which is supposed to discourage predators and warn them of their foul taste, acquired due to the mustard oil present in their preferred plants. After two weeks they started pupating: watching the pupae emerge from the skin of the last instar was incredible and something I had never seen before. The soft pupae, already showing the future wing structure, began hardening up and the first butterflies emerged after ten days. They seemed to wait until I wasn’t looking to pop out, so I only caught one halfway through the process and it happened so quickly I couldn’t take a photo. Last night, not long before sunset, I finally released all those that were ready to fly, exactly a month after the eggs were laid. Some immediately flew away, others seemed a bit torpid, probably due to the temperature excursion, so I left them in the shelter of some tall Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), hoping for the best. 

I said this before when I raised common frogs (Rana temporaria) last year: animal metamorphosis is an unbelievable natural process which is absolutely worth seeing with your own eyes, I have learnt so much and I can’t wait to raise butterflies again!  

They are so beautiful and I love them so much. Congratulations!!! 😭

August 24, 2018

nanonaturalist:

I just found FIVE MORE QUEEN EGGS!!!

August 18, 2018

It gets better! First, I found six more eggs today:

Happy family 🙂

Second, I met the mom of at least some of them:

^^^ that’s not a queen! That’s a monarch!

August 19, 2018

Question Mark butterfly from this morning

August 15, 2018