Saturday, July 25, 2015


I never had a chance to "grow" a butterfly when I was a child, and I have been doing it vicariously through Jaxon's "Life Cycle" lessons.

PLUS, living out here in the country with plenty of butterfly-attracting foliage makes it easier to spot them caterpillars when the time comes around.

This time, we had several attempts at rearing these little creatures.

First, we caught Hummingbird Moth larva on our lawn.  I have no idea why I don't have any photos of the larva, seeing how I am quite trigger happy with a camera, being Asian and all, you know.....

ANYWAY, after a little bit of research, we discovered that these larvae burrow into the soil to pupate. So, we put the little one into a jar with soil and waited.

After oh, I don't know, a couple of weeks, out emerged THIS impressive fellow...
 photo June 19 Hummingbird Moth Spawns1-001_zpsommusoq7.jpg
whom we released after oohing and aahing for a bit and taking some obligatory photos.

A few days later, I came across some "Question Mark Butterfly" caterpillars on one of our trees out here, and it was "ooooooh!" all over again.. eheheh.
 photo June 19 Hummingbird Moth Spawns-001_zpsnnftau49.jpg
All four of them formed chrysalises, but one of the chrysalises had some sort of spasmodic epileptic episode one night and turned black the next day.
 photo June 19 Hummingbird Moth Spawns2-001_zpsepou6paw.jpg
You can't really tell from the photos, but there were shiny metallic spots on the outside of the chrysalis.

The other 3 turned out really nicely, and hatched uneventfully., so we got to release one just about every other day.
 photo DSC_0766-001_zps4v1nzpxu.jpg
It was surprising to see the red blood-like liquid that dripped off of it. ( Update : I have since learned that it is actually metabolic wastes/meconium from while it was going through its metamorphosis )

Also, do you see its namesake question mark on the underside of its wing?
 photo DSC_0768-001_zps8ii7devz.jpg
The empty shell that was left was still pretty much intact.
 photo DSC_0769-001_zpsaqrqbgfn.jpg
Here's the question mark from another angle.

Apparently the trick to gently getting a butterfly to stay on your hands/fingers is to release them while their wings were still not fully dry so they wouldn't be so quick to fly off.
 photo DSC_0777-001_zpsow5veoz7.jpg
It was quite ticklish, but thrilling as well.

We then laid them gently on a plant in one of the flower beds so that they could finish drying their wings.
 photo DSC_0786-001_zps175x6smw.jpg
Quite magnificent, aren't they?

The little boy very much wanted to have it on his hand, but got so absolutely ticklish that he was quite content to just watch after a while.
 photo July 02 More Butterflies-001_zpsevhtnsrw.jpg

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