Posted in Conservation, Creatures

Guardianship update: 16th August 2018 #1

This week has been all sorts of lessons.  The chrysalis I first noticed the faintest bits of orange through the green is still developing, but sometime in the last six hours, two nearby rapidly changed to the image below, which is the best shot I could manage at this hour.

I admit, I panicked when I first saw these.
I wish you could see the wings as well as I can. The green one to the far left and rear behind the green in the foreground is the one I first noticed the faint orange through the green.

Apparently once they are ready to hatch, the green chrysalis can quickly appear to turn black, but it’s really turning transparent.  Since I had forgotten this fact, I hadn’t thought to keep any sort of hourly or even every three hourly while awake sort of check schedule going.

I’m going to try to find one of my small notebooks soon so I can leave it by the keeper to take notes any time I check on it in the future.  When I first started my guardianship this year, I kept an egg count on a scrap of paper which soon got buried and found much, much later.  Being that it’s summer we don’t eat at the dining room table nearly as much as we could, so it becomes the catch all for other things.

We went out to do some yard work around 5:30, and I had cut another upper stalk of milkweed because the four 5th instar were chowing down, and the two chrysalis in question were definitely green.

We had supper near 8:00-ish and that’s when I noticed the two had gone patchy darker.  I thought, “OH NO! They’ve got that mold disease.”  Then I looked a bit harder and thought, no…it’s not splotchy enough.  Maybe I just noticed the black of the wings before the orange, and though I thought it odd for that to happen before the other I noticed the orange earlier, I figured I’d just check in a few hours.

Around midnight, I check again (which I normally don’t do at night because I throw a towel over the incubator/keeper so they aren’t being affected by artificial light).  Definitely darker…all over.

I didn’t expect my local Monarch Expert to be awake at that hour, so off to the internet I went.  What I was hoping to find (and thought I had bookmarked, but nooooooo.)  Was a time lapse that shows them develop while in chrysalis.  I did learn one thing which is it’s not a cocoon because it’s not make of silk.  It’s called a chrysalis for a reason and it is made up of chitin just like their instar skins.  I didn’t know a cocoon had to be silk before.  Now I know.

I also learned from a different site that when they come out of their chrysalis, that’s called eclose, meaning emerge.

Anyhoo, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but in one time lapse video, I did notice there seemed to be a jump to where they turn dark then transparent.  I kept looking.  Then I found a very small portion of one of the many butterfly emerging videos that showed the very last stage in time lapse from very black looking to transparent to eclose.  (This one, and if you blink you will miss it.  I want to note that they have what seems to be an artificial light on it, so it’s not as clear about looking black as it is with lesser light.  I had to watch it several times to be sure.  The first chrysalis image comes up at the 4 second mark and at 15 seconds into the video, it abruptly changes to a farther out shot where the chrysalis is cracking open.

My only concern right now is these are the two that not only chrysalised at the same time, but they are the closest together on the mesh, so I hope they don’t knock each other down.  If that happened before their wings dry properly, the could be grounded for life if not helped back up to a hanging position.  Never a dull moment!

Note: I labeled this #1 in the title because  have a hunch they will be coming out today.  This amazes me because I thought with the cooler weather, they’d take longer.

From what I’ve read, once they go dark towards transparency, it’s not much longer.  Since our temps are now back to norm for this time of year, I expect to not sleep tonight but hope they won’t be ready to release before my partner gets home from work.  I have no idea how I would photograph it without help since I only have the bad camera which has no remote or timer.

Care to share thoughts on this?