Thursday, June 26, 2008

black tiger swallowtail

at the end of may, sadie found a little green caterpillar! she wanted to keep it and help it become a butterfly. we weren't sure what kind it was so we poured over the books we had recently gotten from the library on butterflies. we got them because she wanted to order one of those butterfly kits and we were reading about butterflies and caterpillars. we never were quite sure what kind of butterfly it would be. none of the pictures or descriptions were good enough to really tell.

she fed it wild strawberry leaves and plantain everyday and it got bigger and bigger and brighter! it was amazing to watch it just plump up like that. and it was like something from a cartoon because the colors were just that vibrant and unreal. and before we knew it, literally within a few seconds one day, it was making its chrysalis. i never knew they made them that fast! well, once we saw the chrysalis, we were able to identify it as a swallowtail. there's no mistaking its chrysalis hanging there by a single thread. so we read about them and found that it would take about 2 weeks for it to come out. we would be on vacation for part of this time, so each day she would ask me, "do you think it's come out yet?" she was really worried she would miss it.

when we got home, it was still in the chrysalis. but the VERY NEXT DAY, it hatched. sadie was the first to notice it, and she screamed and scared me to death!!! how lucky was that, if we had stayed over another day like i thought about doing, we would've missed it!!

we waited for silas and scotty to come and see it before we went outside to release it. surprisingly, it just hung out with us for awhile and sipped some nectar while practicing using its wings. eventually, it did fly away. high and far up into a tree, i couldn't believe how long we were able to watch it. it was so big! sadie cried for a little bit but she knew that it only had a month to find a mate before it died. it was a really exciting day!

here are some pix of the whole process:

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1 comment:

Ren said...

Wow...that is SO cool! Great pics too.:)