Saturday, 10 February 2018

Tailed Emperor emerged

The first of the Tailed Emperor butterflies emerged from its chrysalis today. When I checked on them at 1130 in the morning, this one, the first to set, had begun to show the adult butterfly colour beneath the case. The 'fur' of the thorax and abdomen and the wings spots can be clearly seen. I had been checking them every day and this one had turned straw-yellow yesterday.

I went to set up the time-lapse camera, only to find that it had not been emptied and re-charged so I had to do all that. Meanwhile, by the time that was done, about one-o-clock, the butterfly had just fully emerged. So it had taken less than an hour and a half to emerge. I had thought I still had time to set up, oops. I will be ready for the next one.

About twenty minutes later the butterfly turned around and continued to stretch.

To think that this marvelous, delicate form of life had been squashed into that tight case for the past 19 days. And it had been in a much more simple form of a caterpillar before that.

What a chance to see immaculate insect wing-scales. Not a single one missing or torn.

I think this butterfly was a female as it had an almost-all-white body and its tail was broad-ended. Here she extends her proboscis for the first time, stretching it through the leaves.

Then, this is her retracting his proboscis drawing in a tiny drop of water from the leaf surface. Her very first drink.

An emperor's tail - absolutely perfect.

A few minutes later, she was warmed up and flew off over the garden.


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