There are 9 in the foreground and 3 in the background. Picture was taken through the vinyl 'window' on the caterpillar castle so it's not really in focus. I notice a black spot on the tip of one of the pupae. I'm not sure what that is. Hopefully it won't impede its development.
|This larva formed a chrysalis today.|
Today, I checked and the opening in the top seems to have healed over and the beautiful gold spots have developed. My fingers are crossed that it will continue to develop normally. I will glue some type of hanger from the top and let it hang like the others so when it emerges, its wings can unfurl and expand like usual. I am cautiously optimistic. The casing is now very firm so it's safe to handle it.
Today I checked this one and found 2 larvae! I'm usually concerned that they'll eat each other at this early larval stage but they seem to be getting along OK so I'm leaving well enough alone.
These guys are a couple of instars away from pupating. Often they'll climb up like this and stay there for hours.
Usually they are just getting ready to shed their skin and advance to the next phase. More than once, I've thought they were dead because they don't eat for move at all for hours, but next time I check, I find the shed skin below and they're moving around again looking for food.
I have a few florists water reservoirs that help keep milkweed clusters fresher (pictured in the jar on the right). It also makes less work for me as the cats will feed on a cluster for several days.
I keep the milkweed leaves in the fridge so am easily able to provide food for the cats and do so at least once a day. It's keeping me busy and tied to home (other than day trips) but it is so interesting and fun to see the rapid development that it holds my interest. I do feel like I'm making a meaningful contribution to at least this species.
Pupa #10 has started to darken so it will probably emerge tomorrow morning.