Tuesday, 26 July 2016

3 Pupae!

A couple of days ago, I was fortunate enough to photograph one of the caterpillars in the process of forming its chrysalis. It was a really light green colour at this stage, just after it had shed its last skin.
The other caterpillar pupated later that day.
Yesterday, I caught one in the other container getting ready to pupate. Here, you can see the silken threads it uses to attach itself. When magnified, it's very much like hook and loop tape (aka Velcro). Again, the last skin had just been shed and it was wriggling around forming the chrysalis. You can see the faint outline of what will be the wings in 7 - 10 days.
There is a way to determine the gender of the monarch at this stage by closely examining the cremaster (the black part which attaches to the silky threads).

Looking closely, I don't see the telltale line between the two black dots so I believe this is a male monarch pupa.
Note to self: inspect the other chrysalises and determine their sex.

A little while later, the chrysalis was completely formed.
One of the 3 new eggs hatched today. It is one day old here - about 2mm in length.
Another one hatched today and possibly the third one. I haven't been able to find the third larva - it might be too small yet to be easily seen.  I still inspect the undersides of my milkweed leaves on the plants outside. My hope now is to at least match last year's count of 10 adults released. Must find three more, must find three more...

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