Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Papilio Machaon (koninginnenpage)

I know this isn't my normal 'cup a tea' but i would like to share a little wonder of nature with you today. My sons and I found these really cute caterpillars a few weeks ago, they where eating at my carrots. We found out that they where Papilio machaon (koninginnenpage) and those aren't much around in the Netherlands, and also the biggest butterfly we have here.

So we collected the 8 caterpillars we found and put them in a yar with some carrot loaf, yesterday we had our first butterfly (after 4 weeks and 3 weeks of being a pupa) but we hadn't seen him/her come out of the chrysalis (pupa), so we released that one and waited.

Today after work we again had 2 butterflies and looking at the pupa we could see that there soon would be 3 more butterflies. And yes you can see at the pupa if they are about to 'hatch', in the beginning they are bright green and afterwards you can see the color change by the hour it turns slowly more brown and you can see the dots of the wings in the pupa at the last stage, that will take up too 4 hours before the butterfly will come out.
First the back-end ( we thought it would be the front end of the caterpillar) will crack and then it will crack sideways to the front and within a minute the butterfly is completely hatched.
The wings are really small and wet but they will let them dry and then about 10 minutes later it will fly away.
It really is stunning to see how fast this all goes and how fast the butterfly comes out the pupa.

Here are some pictures taken off all stages, click on the image to get a larger view ;-)

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Now I'm going to have to look at the carrots in my garden to see if I have any of the catepillars.
Love your kits Linda.
Have a great week.

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