I was so pleased when the caterpillar I’d rescued from the toxic plant did manage to form his J and then successfully pupate. I’d taken photos of those stages, but when I tried to transfer them from my digital camera to my computer, the computer wouldn’t recognize the camera. I still don’t know why, but I ordered a memory card reader, and it came today, and it works perfectly!
But that wasn’t the end of the caterpillar catastrophe. The caterpillar had formed his pupa right on the edge of a leaf of the milkweed plant. I was afraid the gyrations they go through when forming the chrysalis would dislodge him, but that didn’t happen. What did happen was that after a couple of days the leaf turned yellow and fell off the plant. Fortunately it landed in the pot rather than on the floor, and I found it very shortly after it fell. The leaf was still supple, so I wrapped it around the branch of a Christmas cactus and secured it there with dental floss. It was hanging properly again. Now I just had to wait and see whether all the travails the poor caterpillar had gone through would prevent it from forming a butterfly or, as sometimes happens, whether the butterfly would not succeed in breaking out of the chrysalis.
This morning the butterfly emerged! He was exceptionally beautiful, at least in my opinion. I carried him out on my finger (they climb right on when they’re newly emerged–they can’t fly until their wings dry) and put him on a plant in my butterfly garden. And I took photos. And now, thanks to my new memory card reader, I can share them.
I’m so pleased that the caterpillar transformed without a problem. Now I have another in the pupa stage and one almost ready to pupate. The first photo shows the caterpillar as still a little guy; the last shows the butterfly almost ready to make its first flight.