Posts Tagged ‘emerge’

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.


Chain of Events

I was walking along the back side of my moon garden when


this male dun skipper landed nearby and allowed me to creep closer for pictures.

IMG_9590 crop

A cabbage white butterfly landed in the middle of a mint, and posed for me to take its picture too.


And then a question mark butterfly landed close enough that I didn’t have to move to take its picture.


The narrow tails and the small silver question mark on its hindwing identify it. The comma butterfly has wider tails, a comma on its hindwings, and its wings have a more jagged edge.

I was stooped down taking more pictures of butterfly above… when…


this dragonfly landed right in front of me. It surprised me, especially with such vivid colors. A little research turned up what I saw. The vivid colors occur on the dragonflies (imago) when they emerge.


The colors then turn darker as they dry.

This was the first imago I’ve  seen through all my years and years of nature study. Needless to say, I was so  excited.


A Tachina Fly

IMG_2466 crop

These tachina flies were numerous


back when the butterflyweed was blooming the end of June.


Three of these tachina (Trichopoda pennipes) flies also stayed in the area.

IMG_2803 crop

This half-inch one mates near flowers and attaches its eggs to medium-sized and large true bugs. Its larvae enter the host to feed. Some pupate in the host and emerge in the spring.  Other tachina species pupate in the soil emerge in the summer or fall.

Emerging Dragonflies


IMG_0095 red

My small water garden can be a hub of activity at times.

IMG_0059 crop red

I generally do a search for frogs. This particular morning in late May, I just happened to be there at the right time to find 3 dragonflies emerging.

IMG_0056 crop red

Their color changed as they dry.

IMG_0089 crop red

I went out 3 times in 1 1/2 hours to take pictures. This means I made loops of the water garden in both directions to take them … and had me thoroughly confused when picking out pictures for this blog.

IMG_0104 crop red

This one worried me because its abdomen wasn’t straight.  .

IMG_0114 red

I figured that it would straighten as it dried. 

IMG_0068 red

IMG_0085 crop red

IMG_0086 crop red

IMG_0089 crop red



Variegated Fritillary Update

I was out last night, weeding in the moon garden. We’re over 8 inches behind in rain fall so far this year. Then take into consideration that we have good ole’ clay soil; it does make for a challenging year gardening. I was using a spade to turn the soil over where the weeds and grasses had resprouted since last time I weeded. I’m trying to get areas ready so I can plant.

While working along the stone edging of the garden, I flipped over a young violet plant to find a partially-grown, red, black and white caterpillar. My first thought was “variegated fritillary.” Next thought was maybe a “great spangled fritillary.” I moved the caterpillar on a nearby violet out of the weeding area.

My Caterpillars of Eastern North America book confirmed that variegated fritillary was right. It also listed 8 fritillary species that lay their eggs on violets.

The caterpillar looked to be half grown. The book said they grow to 2 inches long. The length of the one I found was about an inch or so.

Variegated fritillary

This morning I was wishing I had a way to rear the caterpillar to adult. The caterpillar book showed the chrysalis to be shiny gold and silver, with small black dots. I went out and looked. No caterpillar. There were a lot more violets around than I’d originally noticed. Now I’m afraid to walk around in that area. There’s a chance, though, that I might be able to find the chrysalis later.

When the adult emerges, if it’s a female, she will continue emigrating northward, laying eggs as she goes … if it’s a male, I assume it might head north too.