Friday, June 13, 2008

Soup's On...

The chrysalis - metamorphosis has begun. (7 to 10 days) The caterpillar found a safe place to rest. With a silk thread that comes out of a hole just below its mouth (spinneret), the caterpillar spins a silk pad to attach to. The caterpillar hangs from this pad. Soon, the caterpillars' skin splits open, from head to abdomen, revealing a shiny green case underneath - the chrysalis.

Here is what is happening in the chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar is becoming completely liquid (soupy) and reforming itself into a butterfly. The butterfly pushes from inside and slowly struggles out, until the case splits open.




This was taken at 2ooX and is a good look at what the silky threads look like.

A cremaster is a support hook (or a cluster of small hooks) at the abdominal (hind) end of a pupa. Some butterflies (like the Monarch butterfly) are supported by only the cremaster; others, like this Eastern Black Swallowtail attach to the support with the cremaster and bands of silk (called the girdle) around the mid-section. Illustration

The caterpillar's skin is shed for the last time as it passes from the larval (caterpillar) stage to the pupa (chrysalis) stage of metamorphosis. Under the caterpillar's skin this time is a jade green casing which is called a chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, which is only about an inch long, the caterpillar will miraculously transform into a beautiful butterfly.

These odd looking structures look like air vents to me. They possibly allow for the exchange of air and gasses but I'm not quite sure yet.

pupaThe pupa is the stage in a butterfly's (or moth's) life when it is encased in a chrysalis and undergoing metamorphosis. Wings develop during this stage.

About a day before the adult butterfly emerges, the chrysalis becomes transparent.

The day before my friend came out it turned a dark blackish color. I knew the time was coming when it would bust out and show us if it is male or female.

Here is a 200X look at the "air vents". Next post I will tell you what happened next!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

What a great post, mom! Can't wait to read your next one!