Posts Tagged ‘chrysalis’

Monarch Chrysalis

On one of my walks around the backyard looking for spiders, I found a monarch butterfly chrysalis in an old garage that will be torn down soon.

I watched the chrysalis— daily, waiting for the butterfly to emerge.

Then the chrysalis turned slightly darker.  I expected the butterfly to emerge soon … It did, but I wasn’t there to watch it.

Predation

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Crab spiders have the ability to change color to match that of the flower they’re on. In this case, it’s among wingstem flowers. This is a female crab spider. Males are much smaller.

Her prey looks like a tachina fly.

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Here’s another example of predation:

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I blogged this chrysalis earlier this summer. It was attached to the side of our garbage container.

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It belonged to a tawny emperor butterfly.

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A couple of weeks later another chrysalis was attached to the side of the container. I knew it was parasitized when it started turning dark.

Then came even another predator.

A Chrysalis

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I found this chrysalis on the side of our garbage container on August 10th. Its shape and design would make such a nice pendant for a necklace. I admired it every time I passed. Then, it was an empty shell on the 16th.

Its identity remained a mystery … until this afternoon. I just found out it’s the chrysalis of a hackberry emperor butterfly.

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We have several hackberry trees in our yard.

Hackberry butterflies lay their eggs in hackberry trees, and the caterpillars feed on the leaves. The adult butterflies prefer feeding on rotting fruit. They also visit moist places, fermenting fruit, tree sap, and animal droppings.

Tiger Swallowtail

I actually saw a butterfly today. It’s the first in 4 days. Their number’s have been the lowest I ever remember seeing, and I contribute it to the Arctic winter.

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The eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is usually a common butterfly here in southern Illinois.

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Their caterpillar host trees include: wild cherry, tulip tree, poplar, ash, cottonwood and willow.

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They have 2 broods in our area, and 3 in the southern states.

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They overwinter as a chrysalis,

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and begin flying early in March.

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This partially grown caterpillar was in a wild cherry tree  in the yard last summer.

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A fully-grown one was nearby in the same tree. Its brown color shows that it’d emptied its digestive system and was preparing to form a chrysalis.

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Female tiger swallowtails also have a dark form.

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It’s thought to mimic the pipevine swallowtail.

Catalpa Worms

Actually, they’re caterpillars. Fishermen call them “catalpa worms.” Last night I found the first signs of catalpa worms this sumer — two fallen, dried leaves with an empty eggs in a mass on each one.

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The catalpa tree stands 35 or so feet tall in our backyard.

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The catalpa sphinx moths lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves.

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The newly-hatched caterpillars feed on the underside of the leaves.

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They then travel in groups in search for their next meal.

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They always feed on the underside of the leaves, to stay more hidden from predators.

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Obviously, they change as they grow.

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The caterpillars molt five times before they’re fully grown.

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Even the full-grown caterpillars feed on the underside of the leaves.

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These are cocoons of a parasitic wasp. The earlier stages of the wasp feed inside the caterpillar.

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This predator appeared to be an immature bug of some kind.

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 Caterpillars ate almost all the leaves in August of 2008!!!! The tree grew naturally the next year.

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Then I lucked out that year and found a caterpillar under another catalpa that grew in the shrub border of our backyard. It was working its way under the plant litter on the ground.

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I placed the caterpillar with plant debris in a bug container so I could rear it out to see the chrysalis

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and the adult catalpa sphinx moth.