Monday, July 21, 2008

pupation station

Speedy was getting so big so fast that we had to get ready for her to pupate (ahead of schedule, of course, because she is Speedy). I made up a nice dish of soil (because sometimes they burrow in the dirt) and stuck three sticks in it (because sometimes they do it on sticks or other vertical surfaces). I made a point of collecting a variety of sticks, a thick one, a thin one, and a rough-textured one, so that she could take her pick. See how nice of a set-up I made for her?

And you can also see in that picture that she was having none of it. That blob in the upper right corner is Speedy, hunkered down and ready to pupate, and choosing to do it on the blinding bright orange terrarium lid instead on of the nice sticks and dirt that I got for her.

I guess whenever I raised monarchs when I was a kid, they never spun their chrysalis on the sticks I gave them, it was always on the side of the jar or on the mesh covering on top.

Because of the angle, it's hard to get a decent picture of the chrysalis. Usually they are either green or brown, depending on their surroundings and what would be better camouflage. Last year, of our three that made it to adulthood, the two who pupated higher up on the sticks had brown chrysalids, and the one who pupated closer to a bunch of parsley had a green chrysalis. So when I saw that Speedy was getting ready to pupate on the bright orange terrarium lid, I was excited to see what color her chrysalis would be. Which is better camouflage for blaze orange?

Apparently she couldn't decide either. Her chrysalis is brown on the bottom (the side closer to the terrarium) and bright green along the back (the side facing open air).

Now we wait and see if she can actually hatch successfully hanging upside down and sideways like that (I removed the sticks and parsley, so she has room to spread her wings). She officially pupated on the evening of the 18th (when nobody was home to watch, of course) and since she is Speedy she'll probably hatch in a few days.

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