Tag Archives: chrysalis

Indoor Butterfly Fun

A lot of soon-to-be flyers

A lot of soon-to-be flyers

Yesterday the Mister and I participated in one of our time-worn traditions: Using a Groupon within days of expiration. After the, oh, 50th time or so, you’d think we’d do a better job of lessening our stress by planning ahead.

But that would not be us!

Delicate-looking rice paper butterflies were common here.

Delicate-looking rice paper butterflies are common here.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful 70-degree day, which made it easy to go for an adventure. Yes, we sprung loose of my 10-mile comfort-radius shackles and headed for the Big City, aka Houston. Destination? The Houston Museum of Natural Science.

A tiger longwing drinks up.

A tiger longwing drinks up.

We hadn’t visited the museum since that 2009 Bar Mitzvah party. Our Groupon allowed us access to the butterfly center and the exhibits. Of course, I was mostly interested in capturing good photos of the frequent flyers with my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

The underside of the blue morpho is stunning.

The blue morpho’s underside is stunning; wish it had cooperated and opened its wings.

The moment we walked into the sauna-like area, I was wishing I had opted for my Nikon 70-200mm lens, however. The butterflies flitted and fluttered all over the place. They were so beautiful! But they also stopped to rest so far away most of the time.

This tawny owl was hiding in the dark.

This tawny owl was hiding in the dark.

Despite having plentiful light from the large windows and roof, I did use my flash occasionally to try to bring out all the details. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to bother my subjects.

Gorgeous!

Wonder what kind this one is.

It was wonderful watching the butterflies move around us as if we weren’t important at all. And I guess we weren’t.

Charro, a green iguana (mature males are orange), expresses an opinion.

Charro, a green iguana (mature males are orange), expresses an opinion.

Right, Charro?

Another Very Hungry Caterpillar Tale

Nom nom!

Nom nom!

While I was still mourning the loss of our three caterpillars, nature decided to teach me another lesson.

A couple weeks ago I noticed that our thoroughly devoured butterfly bush had regrown its leaves. The very next day we had yet another temporary visitor chewing away—yep, it was a monarch caterpillar!

The pickings got slim in a hurry.

The pickings got slim in a hurry.

This time there was no competition for all that tasty greenery. I’m sure the little guy preferred being a solo act.

Part of its bar routine

Part of his bar routine

Plus it left plenty of room for the caterpillar to show off his gymnastics skills. This multicolored guy totally entertained me with his stunts around the once-again naked plant.

But all too soon my pal disappeared into the mulch. I wondered if he would be able to find our house so he could eventually pupate.

Not a good place to be

Not a good place to be

The next morning I finally spotted him near our front door, inching his way up the door jamb. That definitely wasn’t the best spot for him to eventually “J” and form his chrysalis.

Caterpillar on a stick

Moving day

So I found a stick, which he climbed on to. Then I gently placed him at the bottom of our front porch’s wall so he could ascend undisturbed.

Two’s company

Two’s company

Before long he was on top of our front entry’s arch, settling in near one of the asps’ cocoons.

Hanging by a thread

Hanging by a thread

By the afternoon, the caterpillar was precariously hanging off the arch. Pupation awaited!

Success . . . for awhile

Success . . . for awhile

When I checked the next morning, this chrysalis greeted me. As happy as I was that we might see another monarch butterfly emerge, I wondered if it would last for two weeks. The location of the bright, green exoskeleton seemed too out in the open, too tempting for hungry birds.

Sure enough, the very next day, there was nothing left of the leaf-stripping, hard-working caterpillar. The chrysalis was gone.

And, once again, I’m in mourning. Sigh!

Welcome Home, Monique!

Come on down!

Back on August 7, a couple chrysalises on our house erupted. One monarch butterfly already had flown the coop by the time I noticed, but another, who I dubbed Monique, hung around for awhile.

Attractive colors!

Yesterday I looked out my front door and saw some fluttering around our butterfly plant. It was a monarch! I grabbed my Nikon D700, attached the Nikon 70-200mm lens, and stood in the doorway snapping pix.

Hello, gorgeous!

Could it be that Monique had returned for a visit? Perhaps she had gotten homesick during her travels.

Whatever the reason, I hope we get to see her more often. She’s welcome to belly up to the Butterfly Buffet any time!

A Birth Announcement

Welcome to the world!

The Mister, the boys, and I are pleased to announce a new addition to our home (well, it was literally transformed on our house): Our monarch butterfly!

I’ve named her Monique (I think it’s female).

When I left the house this morning for my run, I first checked out the chrysalis closest to our front door.

Gone but not forgotten

Sadly, it was empty. Our first monarch butterfly apparently had literally flown the coop.

Monique enjoys her brief coming-out party.

Then I stepped off the front porch and looked up at the second chrysalis. There was our new bundle of joy hanging near the burst sac.

Of course, I immediately ran back into the house to take photos before continuing with my jogging. I wasn’t sure how long Monique would stay. I had read that after several hours, new butterflies continue on their life’s journey.

But when I returned, Monique was still there. I showed her to her brothers, who were less than impressed (boys!).

Farewell!

After awhile, I walked back outside and saw just the empty chrysalis attached to the house.

Monique, we hardly knew ye!

One-Word Wednesday

Monarch caterpillar #2 has been transformed way up high on our house.

Chrysalis!

A closer look

The other monarch caterpillar’s chrysalis is imperfect.

Photographic Equipment Sidebar: The first photo was snapped with my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm lens; the other two with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens.

High Flyers and Low Crawlers

Can you find the caterpillar among the bluebonnets?

It’s been a fun week bringing to the blog a taste of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Butterflies love Indian paintbrush.

From wildflowers to cacti to sculptures to out-of-focus hummingbirds, the Austin venue has something for all nature lovers. Including different kinds of critters.

A turtle ignores me.

Turtles swim silently in a small pond near the entrance.

A chrysalis harbors new life.

Chrysalises hang on in screened eclosion boxes where they’re safe from predators.

Silk moth caterpillars hang out on leaves.

An insectary houses caterpillars that will develop into silk moths. I’d never seen so many of the little crawlers in one place before.

A bee hovers over Wright’s skullcap flowers.

My experience with wildflowers has been that beasts usually accompany the beauty. Most of the varmints have been bees, of course, who like the flowers as much as I do.

Is the bee reading the informative sign?

Looks like they want to learn more, too!