Friday, August 13, 2010

Pupa Time Excellent.....

Ladies and Gentleman we have pupas!  On Wednesday evening our caterpillars stopped eating and began wandering around the enclosure looking for a place to pupate.  Here is a bit of forewarning to any future caterpillar rearers. Before they wander, they poop A LOT one last time. They empty out their whole digestive tract so this last poop/frass is kind of runny and diarrhea like. Yummy!  Apparently Frass is the official word for caterpillar poop...who knew? Once Black Swallowtails  find a place to pupate, they will stay in that spot for a while without moving very much, sometimes for as long as 24 hrs. Eventually they spin silk thread to attach themselves to the object they decided to pupate on. After another 24 hours or so (depending upon the temperature) they molt one last time. After this molt they are no longer a caterpillar/larva, but a pupa that has formed a chrysalis. Black Swallowtail chrysalises can be any one of three colors. The most common is a dark brown color, that makes it look like part of a stick. This is the kind we have. Less common are a green color and a light brown. Here is an excellent slide show of a Black Swallowtails life is so COOL!  After pupating for  9-11 days our adult butterfly should emerge from their chrysalises.
We are so excited! I will post more pics when they emerge.