Sunday, April 15, 2012

First Butterfly of the Season

Spotted this guy about a week ago. It's a Cabbage White, which are usually the first butterflies to appear.

I snapped a picture before it left:


Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm not dead! I promise!

I just realized that I hadn't posted on here for a while. So... have a monarch doing weird stuff with its wings.

Erm... okay.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Alas, poor butterfly! I knew it, Horatio.'

The Black Swallowtail I posted about last week died Thursday night, presumably due to old age. It was 3 months old and a few days. Most Black Swallowtails only live about two weeks, so it had quite a long life. I've pinned him up with the Black Swallowtail from last year that also hatched in the Winter.

Both butterflies together (The one I've posted about on the left, last year's on the right)
The back view of this year's butterfly 

The front view

 Make her laugh at that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winter Butterfly

In the middle of the summer, I found two Black Swallowtail caterpillars. They both made their chrysalises shortly after I found them – one on the basil that they were eating and the other, strangely enough, under the newspaper at the bottom of their enclosure. I brought in the one on the basil to the Butterfly House, and as far as I know it hatched without problem. The other one I hung onto. For several months. It ended up hatching around the 22nd of November.

This isn’t as uncommon as you’d think – I had one hatch last year shortly after Christmas. What is uncommon is the fact that this butterfly, perhaps due to the fact that it was on the ground, hatched with its wing folded over backwards, thus preventing it from flying. Some of the miconium – a liquid waste product produced while the butterfly is in the chrysalis – had dried on the wings, though it doesn’t seem to have harmed the butterfly any.

Because there were no flowers around (make your own musical references here), coupled with the cold and the butterfly’s inability to, well, fly, I have been taking care of it, providing sugar water via a folded-up paper towel on a plastic lid. I take it out at night to check up on it and allow it some time out of its enclosure.

Then, one day, the crippled butterfly suddenly flew. Taking a look at it, it seems its deformed wing had folded over backwards, probably while being moved, and this somehow made it aerodynamic enough to fly. Call it a Christmas miracle, I guess. It’s not a strong flyer – it has to be held up in the air in order to get off the ground, and it tends to fly in tight circles only, maybe due to the shape of its deformed wing. The butterfly tends to crash land none-too-gracefully, but so far has not been hurt.

It is surprisingly still alive and seems to be doing well, despite being over 5 weeks old. Its wings are a little torn up, but still in good condition, and it still drinks its sugar water with energy. It even got to see the New Year come around!

I took some videos of the butterfly’s earlier attempts at flying, and its later success. Expect those to be uploaded sometime soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011


In a newsletter I received a while ago from the Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, they revealed that they've bred Buckeye butterflies to have blue backgrounds on their wings. It started with a natural little color here or there and then was bred to cover the entire butterfly.

You can view progress pictures and a video of the blue buckeyes here.

Meh. Let me know when they come in purple.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cute Things Kids Say: Dead Butterflies

Child: (Upon looking at the dead butterflies pinned up in the library in the Visitor's Center) They don't look much different than the live ones do.

He might have had a point.