Monday, November 11, 2013

The 'fly who came in from the cold

Such fun I've been having with one little critter!

It started 6 weeks ago, with a yodelling caterpillar. At the end of September, he lived, eating nasturtiums, on my desk for a few days, then he built himself a hammock and turned into a chrysalis. I set him outside in a glass case by the door, and kept an eye on him. The chrysalis gradually lost its bright green colour, fading to a yellowy white. Nothing else seemed to be happening, but of course it was, invisibly; all that rebuilding from the inside out.

I almost missed the next act; I was too late for the first scene. I checked his cage just after breakfast last Thursday, and there he was, out of the chrysalis. Barely out. His wings were still wrinkled, and he was slowly unfolding his legs.

I posted a photo of those legs, the only ones stretched out at the moment. (You commenters are pretty good; you knew it was a butterfly, just not what species.)

9:33 AM, on the inside of the glass case. Three legs

He seemed to discover more legs, as he untangled himself.

9:34 AM Six legs. Cabbage white butterfly, mostly yellow.

9:36 AM

While he stretched, I looked at the empty chrysalis:

The head end is down; the chrysalis is split from the "beak" to the "waist".

It was too cold outside, just above freezing. I left him there for a few hours, but he didn't want to move, so I brought him in and he perked up right away.

A warm corner on a vase by a light.

On a glass bottle.

On the back door. No, he didn't want to go out. I asked.

Next day, on the kitchen floor.

He was a male, as shown by the one black spot on his forewing, and should have been looking for a mate. But it was miserably cold out there, and his friends weren't flying, so I let him stay at home in the warmth. Unfortunately, a spider finally got him. Sometimes I could wish that spiders were vegetarian.


  1. Oh you were with his story start to finish

    I guesses tiger moth, I forgot about your little yodeler.

    Lovely marcos

  2. I have got to stop posting before coffee gets the fingers flying right


  3. What a beautiful set of photos!

  4. Last night we were eating dinner on the picnic table (propane heater running underneath). A small lacy winged insect joined us for a while. He looked so fragile to be out int he cold, but off he flew in a few minutes. - Margy


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