A couple of days ago I wrote about our miracle caterpillar, which we named Lazarus, due to its ability to come back from the dead. I don’t have much on my mind that I want to write about today, so I thought I’d give you an update.
Lazarus continued eating and pooping, as caterpillars do. Yesterday, though, it reached the transition point in its lifecycle, where it stops being a caterpillar and becomes an adult butterfly. What the caterpillar will do at that point is stop eating, and because it will no longer be able to digest, it “purges” – it vomits up the contents of its digestive system. In the photo above you can see the circular stain with a dark center mass. Well, you can sort of see it; I keep the caterpillars in a collapsible laundry hamper with nylon mesh sides that allow you to see through somewhat, and that makes the image a little unclear.
Once they’ve purged, they begin to wander in search of a place to attach themselves. I created something for them to use, and most of the caterpillars end up pupating on it.
You can see it in the center – it’s just a few sticks glued together. Again, due to the nylon mesh it’s difficult to see clearly, so here’s a photo I took last summer at the peak of pupa season:
So yeah, the caterpillars seem to like this arrangement. But not Lazarus! If you look closely at the top left of the photo of the caterpillar housing, you’ll notice something:
Lazarus wandered all over the enclosure, and then decided to attach to the top panel! It still hasn’t pupated, but I expect that to happen later today. I’ll update this post with an image of that when it happens.
Two hours later, and Lazarus has shed his caterpillar skin, and become a bona-fide pupa! Now the long wait until the beautiful butterfly emerges.