As always, things get a little shaky filming (videoing?) with my iPhone 3 while also trying to closely observe a MIRACLE with my own eyeballs. I mean I wanted to share it with you but not as much as I wanted to watch for myself.
This miracle took place Saturday afternoon, and today, Wednesday, there are already signs that the butterfly-to-be is coming soon. I am excited and nervous and fear I will have empty nest syndrome when he flies away (or tadpole nest syndrome? tadpoles are the most boring things in my apartment right now besides me when I am staring at unmoving chrysali.. probably time to get a puppy).
Because I am very curious about the details I offer them to you: the caterpillar stopped eating normally and got sort of wandery and nibbley on Thursday night. By Friday morning he had chosen a spot to his liking on the terrarium lid. He was still sitting up there when I got in Friday evening, and began making a silk button around 7:30PM. By 10 he had positioned his bottom on his silk button and gone through a slow process of removing his front “real” legs, all up next to his head, from the ceiling. Then, over an hour or so, he removed his upper “fake” legs, then his bottom fake legs, until he was hanging on by just some butt threads and two legs. He let go with one leg. He let go with the other! He swang back and forth like a pendulum but he held tight (I mean you do not have to call him anal to his face) with his sweet caterpillar ass and remained there, hanging with his head curled up to form a “j” shape, from around 9 or 10 that evening (Friday) until the video was filmed around 2:30pm on Saturday. Although this excitement was not the reason I didn’t go see Old Crow Medicine Show, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my decision!
Isn’t he the coolest?? Saw his egg be laid. Saw his egg hatch. Took him to the beach, and he was just as chill as could be, a born sunbather.
Although I fared poorly one morning when as a newly emerged 5th instar he ate all of his Milkweed really fast and I had to call strangers and drive around Ocean City in search of more, he was not sweating it. Too cool for school.
Also I would like to show you what happened after this video stopped: When a Monarch chrysalis is newly formed the “skin” has to harden. For about an hour it is very vulnerable, not to birds as much as to the many many parasites that like to climb on in there and do some incubating of their own. I hope that growing up in the sheltered, neurotic environment I have provided for him will prevent my guy from falling such a victim. Let that be a reminder of nature’s rule that the big scary looking things are often not the major threats to populations, but rather the tiny invisible ones. Anyway you can see that he changes his shape quite a lot in that hour before the skin hardens into its final form.
Will the wonders never cease? Clearly not.
Now, this less cool cucumber is pretty sunburned. Her butt is off to bed. See you all in the beautiful butterfly morning.