Sunday, November 10, 2013

Plain Tiger Caterpillar Pupates

This is almost a continuation of my previous post on PlainTiger Butterfly Caterpillars.  Today being a Sunday, I thought of 'catching some action' of how these caterpillars go into chrysalis.  While sipping my morning coffee near the pond, as is the habit, I looked for these caterpillars. A few were still competing for their food as the Asclepias plants have been chewed away to such an extent that only stems are left to be chewed.  Some caterpillars had fulfilled their food needs and were getting ready to pupate. I saw one already in the 'J' position.  I thought it would take an hour or two for it go into chrysalis. So I went in to do some usual Sunday chores.  

When I was ready with breakfast, it was still in the 'J'.  So I went in to do some more work, deciding to visit this every 10-15 minutes. After a couple of such visits, I was shocked to see it already gone to chrysalis!  It was such a short time.  

So I looked around if there were some more caterpillars getting ready.  Yesterday I had seen one crawling on the Spider Plant leaf which I have kept in a pot very close to the Asclepias plants. I guessed they might have fixed themselves underneath as I have now known they look for some horizontal things.  I was right.  When I bent low to look underneath, I found three in the 'J' position!! 

I did not want to miss the action which I now knew would be lasting a few minutes.  I wanted to be there all the while. So I removed the pot and placed it on the concrete table close to it, higher, so that I could also see and photograph it.  

I went in quickly and set things up for the shoot.  

And sat in the 'ready' to watch and catch the action whenever that happened.  I knew it would not be too long, going by the previous observation.

The two others that pupated just a few minutes ago and escaped me are seen in this picture. So I was able to focus on the one.  I could see some movement every few seconds to push silk out.  Any moment there would be 'action' that I waited for.  Very soon, I saw the 'J' straighten out.  I knew now this was the moment. 

Every few seconds I clicked the camera sitting there watching it.  See the time lapse images I have posted online, here:

The time duration on the text slides was okay when I made it on Picasa and it played well.  But online, it is too short.  Sorry about it. You may have to pause to see what it reads.  View full screen as I have also recorded the time at the bottom and see how quickly this magic happened. 
It would take about 10-12 days for the 'eclosion' - emergence of a new butterfly from its chrysalis. This is also a word I came to know from Beverly.  I have not been able to spot their eggs and the tiny caterpillars emerging, happening in an extremely small scale.  Anyway, I hope the eclosion happens on a holiday. 


  1. That is so cool! I looked at the one photo and suddenly saw that caterpillar hanging there. About blew me away!

  2. PS: We are seeing a lot of caterpillars here this fall. Our caterpillars are mostly brown and black and very furry. They say that the more 'hairy' they are, the worse the winter will be!


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