So at last count, last update here I had three huge mongo Black Swallowtail (BST) caterpillars, and three tiny bebe caterpillars. I also had one Luna Moth cocoon. Things have changed.
Last Wednesday, we had mom’s night at my friend Kelly’s house. Besides having a blast with my crew, l left with four monarch caterpillars and one tiny BST caterpillar. Kelly has been rearing butterflies and caterpillars for years, but she is getting her kitchen entirely remodeled and couldn’t take these littles in right now. So I took them home!
This is what they looked like last Wednesday when I brought them home.
This is how they look today, a week later.
They are getting so big! I will be running around getting milkweed to feed them multiple times a day soon, as they will start munching through the leaves faster and faster. Then they will go into chrysalis! Monarchs have a beautiful chrysalis so I am excited to see them.
As for the black swallowtails, we have all but one in chrysalis! Their process is a bit different. They find a spot, and it happens slowly, where a monarch is sort of quicker and more explosive. I took pictures at four intervals of one of the BST’s going into chrysalis, and it is pretty neat. They pick a spot, glom on, make a silk string sling, and then sort of turn into the chrysalis slowly. I am not sure of the science behind it but it is crazy to watch.
As for our Luna Moth cocoon – it hatched! They only live a few days, and have no mouths. They only live long enough to reproduce and that is it.
We kept it in the enclosure for a day or two then released it on the night of the full Strawberry moon – it just felt appropriate for a Luna Moth. It was also International Fairy Day, and I was thinking – if it were hundreds of years ago, before scientific understanding of creatures, and I saw one of these moths, I could see myself thinking I was maybe seeing a fairy. A little fanciful, but can you see it too?
So as of today, we have four hungry monarch caterpillars, five BST in chrysalis, and one BST baby that is growing! I am hoping that by next Wednesday’s update I will have a few more chrysalis hanging around!
If you missed the first post, you can find it here!