Caterpillar to Chrysalis
About a day or so before the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail pupates (the process by which a caterpillar changes into a chrysalis), its coloring changes from green to brown.
Sunday, August 22
The blue spots begin to fade and the abdomen looks like a woven tapestry.
On Sunday, I had moved Junior to a larger container. By larger, I mean I had chosen a taller jar, but unfortunately I did not think about the opening. It was not wide enough to fit the camera down inside. He had stopped eating by this point, so there was no coaxing him out. And though I had chosen a nice twig on which he could attach his chrysalis, he decided to go ahead and make it right on the inside wall of the jar.
So by Tuesday afternoon, when I realized he had pupated, I was reduced to shooting through the other side of the container. If you look closely right under the eyespot, you can see a bit of silk thread. Swallowtails attach their chrysalises to a stick or stem at the tail end, using this silken girdle to suspend them in an upright position on the plant. (Different from say, monarchs, which hang upside down to make their chrysalises.)
I was hoping to get better photos of caterpillar #2, because I had placed that one in the large butterfly habitat where I can unzip the top to take photographs. Unfortunately, it also rejected two choice twigs and chose instead to make its chrysalis at the top of the habitat attaching itself to the underside of the zipper. There is a smaller zippered opening near the floor of the habitat, but the angle is too awkward for the camera.
Caterpillar #3 is just days away from pupating as well. I’m hoping he will like the twigs.