When I became a birdwatcher, I was able to get over the fear (I'm maybe 95% cured!) but the fascination has definitely doubled... even tripled! So imagine my joy when I first witnessed a Lime Butterfly laying eggs on my mom's calamansi plant in her pocket garden! It was "Stage 1" come to life!!
|Do you see the tiny orb?|
The adult butterfly would curve its body and deposit a single egg on a leaf or stem of the host plant. It would flutter around again and would deposit another egg and then another. My mom and I were able to see it lay around 4 eggs that morning.
A few days after, I returned to the plant and found three tiny brown crawlies munching away at their chose leaves! Success!
|One of the "older" ones|
I constantly checked on them and tried my best to document all the changes, transformations, and growth of the caterpillars. In the process, I was able to find four caterpillars on the calamansi plant and they were of varying sizes! I was able to observe them eating, staying still, AND I was also able to witness a defensive behavior they are known for!
|I accidentally hit the leaf it was on with my finger and out came|
those yellow-red "horns" from its head!
The photo is blurred because I was caught off guard seeing its horns!
It really is amazing being able to see first hand things I only once read about or see from other people's photos. I left it alone after that =)
I checked on them every morning as soon as I woke up. They would either be having breakfast or fast asleep.
This was my photo of the largest one from last Sunday. I was able to count all four caterpillars that morning before I heard mass with my family.
|They're growing so fast! You can see a smaller one climbing down|
the branch under my finger.
When we returned that afternoon, they were all gone. All of them. Disappeared without a trace!!!
I was really sad. There was no trace of them! I checked the neighboring plants but they weren't there. My best guess as to why they all disappeared: a bird had eaten them.
I was so excited for them to complete their metamorphosis! Especially since I haven't seen an actual eclosion! Oh well, I guess I have to wait for another batch of these creepy crawlies to come to life in our garden. In the meantime, I will have to content myself with completing their life cycle through different experiences:
|They were supposed to develop into bright green caterpillars until|
they were ready to pupate.
This was from a previous batch of Disappearing Caterpillars.
|When ready for pupation, it positions itself like this and begins|
the slow process of enveloping itself in a chrysallis.
Again, from another unsuccessful batch.
|Its chrysallis is bright green and really alien-like!|
This one was unsuccesful... a parasite got inside it =(
Of course, the last stage would have been the best to observe: eclosion or the emergence of the butterfly from its pupa. I have yet to witness that but I did get to see some newly-emerged Lime Butterflies last weekend!
|Fresh from the pupa!|
Its empty pupa case is on its upper left
|We were also able to see them mating just after eclosion!|
I have technically seen all the stages in their life cycle although in different places. I'll be on the lookout again for any egg-laying butterflies in our garden and hopefully the next batch will no longer contribute to the increasing number of disappearing caterpillars.
I have a previous blog post about the unsuccessful pupas here.