Thursday, September 25, 2008

Emergence

Saturday morning, we discovered the first of our chrysalids had hatched and a little Painted Lady sat still on the mesh of the Butterfly Bungalow. I think she had just emerged when we noticed because she started dribbling what I am told is meconium on the enclosure. It looks like blood, but is just the first waste, I guess. Much like baby meconium.
The boys gathered flowers, which we put in water and dribbled with sugar water to feed her. We were all terribly excited and watched for awhile.
The other chrysalids began to darken.

At one point, Bastian removed the pin holding up the sheet they were attached to, which caused them to fall and get scared. They shook rapidly back and forth, which is apparently a warning to predators to back the eff off.
video

Bastian loved his butterflies and spent lots of time looking at them.
When we went to bed that night, two of the chrysalids were growing quite dark, but had yet to emerge. I was sure we'd get to see them in the morning. When I checked at first, they were still in their shells, but after a couple of hours of me shlepping around, drinking coffee, and sitting at the computer, I checked back to see that then there were three.
I checked repeatedly the rest of the morning and missed the fourth emergence, but finally got a good look when the last little butterfly started to come out. It happens quicker than I'd expected, which is why this little guy is just trying to pry his little butterfly butt free of the chrysalid shell.
They have cute little elvin noses.
When I pulled back the lid of the bungalow to get better shots, I had to shoo Aleks and Bastian's hands away. I'm not sure if touching their fragile little wings is such a good idea. I was surprised at the dull browns and grays. With a name like Painted Lady, one expects something a little more dramatic.
Still the youngest crawls to freedom, flexing his wings, airing them out.
Then he begins to crawl up our yucky, meconium soaked paper.
His wings begin really fluffing out. We never got too good a look at them all wet and folded. They seemed pretty dry from the get-go.
Reminds me of Silence of the Lambs somehow...
Bastian, who still loves everything, loves his butterflies and hugged the cage to prove it.
Two afternoons later, Papa took the boys out while I hurriedly ran off to a board meeting to let the butterflies out. The guy at the toy store told us the weather would still be okay for awhile and we confirmed this with other butterfly sightings in the meantime, so we went ahead as planned rather than starting a butterfly farm of our own. I don't feel quite confident enough or mean enough to keep them indoors for their entire life cycle.
Bastian tried to pull the two that were mating apart. Jon managed to keep his fat little fingers off their delicate, er... dance.
The release:

video

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