Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A new Black Swallowtail Butterfly meets the world

A few minutes ago, I walked out into the field behind our office to search for Monarch Butterflies.  I did find two adult Monarchs - I have already seen more Monarchs in the past two weeks than I did all of 2013.  Both of the Monarchs that I saw were very skittish and would not sit still long enough for a good photograph.

On the way back to the office I found something else...

A Black Swallowtail Butterfly - if you look very closely you can see its chrysalis

That dark shape near the center of the photo is a Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes).  As I walked closer, I noticed that the abdomen of this butterfly appeared swollen.  This means that it has just emerged (eclosed) from its chrysalis and is still pumping fluids from its abdomen into its wings to fully expand them.

This newly eclosed Black Swallowtail is busy pumping fluids from its abdomen into its wings.

If you find a butterfly that is doing this look nearby and you should find the now empty chrysalis.

Black Swallowtail chrysalis (empty)

In this next photo you can see the chrysalis near the top of the plant and the butterfly lower down, still pumping fluids into its wings.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly (below) and chrysalis (above) on Spotted Knapweed

Finally, here is one more photo of the Black Swallowtail as it continues to pump fluids from its abdomen to its wings.  Once the wings are fully expanded, the butterfly will need to allow them to harden before it is able to fly.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly - continuing to pump fluids from its swollen abdomen to expand its wings

1 comment:

  1. Another use for Spotted Knapweed!! And this is such good info on newly emerged butterflys...I did not know about their hydraulic system...