Hatch one hatch two hatch three!

The black swallowtail caterpillars that I hastily rescued as I was going out of town two weeks ago and then pupated in the jar have hatched!

There's not a lot to say about it, but much to show, so let's get started.


The green chrysalis was the first to hatch, and it was easy to tell when it was going to happen since you can see the wing patterns just before it hatches:

The problem is, the hatching happens very quickly.

I had the jar next to my computer and was glancing at it every couple of minutes, as I wanted to witness the emergence.

I went upstairs for three minutes and when I came back there was a fluttering butterfly standing there. Of course.

So I brought him outside, not only for better lighting with which to photograph, but because black swallowtail butterflies are not adept at finding food or mates in a dimly lit, slightly messy basement.

The fresh wings are so vibrant!

As beautiful as this guy's wings are, they are a little deformed:

They shouldn't curl like that. It probably won't affect its ability to fly though. Maybe they'll straighten out with a little more time.

Curved wings or not, this guy must be happy to be out in the world, right? Let's find out...

Yep, looks like a butterfly smile to me!

Incidentally, the first to hatch has a tightly curled proboscis in these photos to go with its slightly-curved wings.

I missed the second hatching too. This was a dark brown chrysalis and it was more difficult to see the colored spots of the wing. Again, it must have happened very quickly.

I must have missed the emergence by just a few seconds, as the wings were still small and crumpled when I first saw it. They quickly filled up though, as the insect pumps fluid into them.

I'm happy to be out here too!
The second to hatch has a loosely-coiled proboscis. Must be more relaxed than the first one. Or lazy. Or possibly very hungry.

This photo shows not-yet-fully-pumped wings, still floppy and wavy:

and about 30 seconds later they're fully formed and straight:

The first to hatch still has curved wingtips, so I think they're permanent:

Incidentally, that curved-wing butterfly is a male:

The second butterfly never opened its wings while I was around, so I didn't get to see its topside markings -- I don't know if it was male or female.

The third butterfly emerged two days later while I was working in the yard, so I didn't get to see it hatch either, darn it! It was a female though:

That was the final butterfly in my jar, so that ends this round of butterfly care.

I'm keeping the jar handy though...

... since I spotted a couple of fresh eggs on the potted parsley this morning. I expect there may be more butterfly posts in the next few weeks.

Good thing I still have some parsley left in the refrigerator!


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GonSS  – (September 6, 2011 at 7:07 AM)  

That was a great post. You got a lot of good photos.

Bom  – (September 6, 2011 at 9:03 AM)  

You did good by them. Great photos!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 6, 2011 at 9:59 AM)  

I can't say it often enough: Your photos are incredible :-).

Jennifer  – (September 6, 2011 at 3:51 PM)  

Hello, brand new butterflies! Their eyes are so silver!

Sharon Lovejoy  – (September 6, 2011 at 8:57 PM)  

The colors, the patterns, the entire experience, so magical. You're so lucky to have had this adventure in your basement. I loved sharing it.

All winged joys to you,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Lisa  – (September 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM)  

You may have mentioned before, but please say again what type of camera you use. Your photos are amazing!

Alan  – (September 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM)  

Thanks for the compliments on the photos! I use an "old" Pentax K200D. For these photos and most of my macro (close-up) work I use an old manual (not auto-focus) lens built between 1966 and 1971: the Super-Macro-Takumar 1:4/50. Something about using a lens that is about the same age as I am makes my digital camera cooler.

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