Thursday, August 5, 2010

it's a boy!

On Tuesday night the swallowtail chrysalid on the carrot was looking darker, although not yet transparent, but by the time I got up at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning the blessed event had already occurred and the butterfly was emerged, flexing his wings, and crawling up the stick and over the cheescloth covering on the jar, so I assumed that he had been out for some time already and was ready to fly. I put off feeding the cats breakfast (which I think is a sin and possibly illegal) to take the butterfly outside, but once he was outside he wasn't ready anymore. So I went back in to feed the cats, and kept poking my head out the backdoor to check on butterfly, and eventually sat down outside myself with some tea to wait for the butterfly to fly. I first coaxed him onto my finger, then onto some liatris, but it was windy and the liatris was blowing around too much and he tumbled off, so then I moved him to a pot of zinnias on the back steps, and he sat there. And sat there and sat there and sat there. Now and then he'd flex his wings again or wash his face, but mostly he sat there. In the morning, that side of my house is in the shade, and I tried moving the pot of zinnias out into the sun, but then then he was less protected from the wind. I was just about to see if the wind was less severe on another side of my house, and just then he flew, up into the lilacs, then across my yard and my neighbor's yard, into the sun. This was at 8:45 a.m. I missed getting video of the first flight by mere seconds, but I got loads of pictures of him sitting around and getting ready.
And it is indeed a boy. Girls have more blue and less yellow. This is the first male of all the swallowtails I've raised. It is also the first that I've found on carrot greens. I wonder if that is coincidence or if the butterflies can somehow choose to lay male or female eggs and if they base that choice on larval food plant. It'll be interesting to see what the dilly caterpillar this year turns out to be.

1 comment:

Tegan said...

He's beautiful!