I've been lucky enough to witness the adult lime butterfly lay its eggs, usually on the underside of the leaves of my mom's calamansi plant. It curls its lower portion to deposit a single, yellow egg on a leaf.
|Do you see the tiny yellow egg near the base of the leaf?|
This is a freshly laid egg!
I've seen the eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars which slowly gnaw at the leaves' edges. I've observed them grow into much larger brown caterpillars...
and then change into plump, bright green caterpillars...
The newest stage I've seen was the positioning of a green caterpillar to turn into a bright green pupa!
|The caterpillar then chose a branch, curled up, and|
positioned itself to get ready for pupation. First time I've seen this!
|The pupa was bright green and supported by very fine "silk thread"|
which, upon further reading, is called a "silk girdle."
Upon closer observation, I saw another pupa which was brown. I checked out the very detailed and amazing page on Lime Butterflies on Butterflies of Singapore which Adri and Trinket shared with me months ago. I learned that this species's pupas can have two color forms: green and brown. And we have both at the same time in the same plant!
|This brown pupa was formed before the green one. |
You can clearly see the "silk girdle" here!
The pupas are supposed to turn black and then become transparent, showing the developing butterfly inside and after a day, the eclosion happens. So now, I wait.
And wait. And wait.
Both pupas have not turned transparent and I am afraid that they might have "drowned" during the past days' rain. The brown pupa also has a small hole on its side which makes me think it was "invaded" by another insect, and Adri thinks this is possible.
|This picture shows the small hole on the brown pupa.|
I guess the survival rate isn't quite good for these butterflies. The first batch of caterpillars I observed "disappeared" before pupation (we think the birds ate them.) At least, this batch made it to the pupa stage. But I will still observe and wait for the butterflies to emerge, maybe they just need more time. (Otherwise, I am so tempted to inspect the inside of the failed pupas.)
While I wait, an adult lime butterfly decided to lay a couple more eggs for me watch and observe =)