Lavender Took (lavendertook) wrote,
Lavender Took

I Haz Monarch Flutterbye!

Mission Control, we have lift off!

In the middle of the night, the chrysalis looked like this, with her colors deepening within the clear casing:


She was even darker when I got up in the morning.

I got up in the morning and her body was shiny black, but she wasn't making a move out of her casing and I had a terrible sinus headache. So I took some mucinex and went back to bed for an hour and a half. And when I got up, there she was a butterfly, all pumped up and pretty, and apparently female. I named her Verid, after a Joan Slonczewski character from Daughter of Elysium.

Female monarchs have wider back veins on their wings, while male monarch's have two black pheromone spots on their lower wings, so it's easy to sex the butterflies, and Verid looks female. A couple of websites I was looking at said you can sex the chrysalis, which I hadn't known before. They said the females have a little line below a set of black dots on the dome of the chrysalis between the wings. I didn't see it, so I thought she might be male. However, that spot was on the back side from all the pics I took, and I would have had to turn the box upside down to see the spot clearly, so I viewed it through the glass that was covered with some of her webbing. It was probably too faint for me to see through the webbing, or possibly, she doesn't have one and is on the intersexual continuum. Whatever the case, she made sure that her most glittery side was best in view for me to look at and take pics of for us, and glitteriness is more important than which sex/gender you are, so I'm grateful to Verid for making sure to share her fabulousness with me. (-:

This is what I saw when I got up. I think she broke out so sneakily and pumped her wings out so quickly in order to look her best when I got up. She did the same thing when transforming from caterpillar to chrysalis. I looked at her in her J-position as a caterpillar, went away to do stuff, and took another look in an hour and a half and her skin was dropped and she was a chrysalis already. Sneaky and fast is this one. It's OK--I have seen all that before, but if you haven't, I'm going to supply a link to a page that has great pics of what both transformations look like and this is EXACTLY the thing you do NOT want to see, [personal profile] spiralsheep, so, by all the gods, DO NOT CLICK! (-; But everyone else go here, because it's really cool to see.

You can see the fine webbing she made over the glass in this pic as she was securing herself to the lid when she was readying herself to make her chrysalis.

Yes, Bingo and Sam were keeping guard beside her box.

I had no idea monarchs had such fabulous peacock blue stockings before! This little point and shoot camera's macro lense is able to pic up things I don't see on my own. And I have to thank Saki for providing the right background to highlight Verid's legs like this. Yes, that background is Saki's fur--she snuck up as I was photoing and if you look at the left side of the pic you can see Saki's whiskers as she's stuck her head around the lid and is reaching in to snuffle Verid. She snuffled her before I caught her and then pulled back--she just wanted to see whatever it was I was looking at in this box. She has since been doing some power box-sitting in The Purple Hork today just to prove who still looks the cutest in a box and is most worthy of attention.

Verid's ready for her close up, Mr. DeMilne.

Here Verid's crawling upside down on the inside of the lid, which she won't for long before she slips and does a fluttery fall. I couldn't get any clear pics of the wings open because this camera is too slow and she was only opening them to pump.

And here she is walking and fluttering along the bottom of the box.

And climbing on me was her favorite thing. If I weren't afraid she might be able to fly and get stuck in the apartment, I would have carried her around. Besides flower nectar, monarchs like to slurp sugary things like fruit, so I got some watermelon for her you can see there. I also put in a glass of water and raspberry syrup. I looked at a study someone did to determine monarch's favorite food/beverage and the conclusion was that their favorite is Kool Aid, which they prefer even to flower nectar. They supposedly don't eat the first day out, but maybe she'll want some in the morning.

We were supposed to get thunderstorms tonight, so I decided to wait until tomorrow morning to take her down by the lake near where her mother laid her. I transferred her into a pop-up hamper where she has plenty of room to flutter. And I have a sheet over it to let her sleep while I have the lights on and keep her safer from inquiring kitties during the night.

Monarch Butterfly Day 14.12, 9-26-12

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Tags: butterflies, fauna, monarch, nature
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