Unless I start thinking about what is going on inside.
I always find this hard to imagine; a living thing takes all his working parts, dissolves them into a soup, and rebuilds them into something different. Without dying in the process.
That's some major self-surgery!
So once the caterpillar is tied down safely, he gets right to work; no time to lose. Here's the schedule for this little critter:
10 AM - start weaving the sling.
11:40 - sling is done.
11:40 to 2:00 - shake, shimmy and squirm to remove old skin.
2:30 PM - Old skin and hairs gone, shape changed (fins and beak added, feet gone), wing veins forming and visible.
|Here you can see the veins of two wings, the forewings with dots along the vein, and the hind wings, shorter and underneath the first.|
The caterpillar's mouth was set up for chewing leaves. When he is a butterfly, he will be drinking from a straw, instead. So the whole head has to be rebuilt. The new yellow and brown beak (almost like a bird's beak, except that it doesn't open) is the beginnings of the new mouthparts. He will also have to build new antennae; as a caterpillar, his antennae were tiny hairs.
He has "fins"now, like a shark's dorsal and pectoral fins. I don't know what function they may have; they will be left behind when the new butterfly emerges.
|Beak to tail, day 6.|
And the day before he emerges, the black dot on the forewings (two if he's a female), the brand-new butterfly feathers, will show up.
Better than watching paint.