He’s a She

Junior is a girl!  :)  A female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, to be exact. I noticed her hanging from the twig in the jar.  (Remember, Junior had made its chrysalis on the inside wall of the jar. I was afraid that when the butterfly emerged, it wouldn’t have anything to hang from while its wings hardened.  Hence the twig.)  The jar made for a very frustrating photo session.  Not really blog-worthy at all except for the fact that you’ve been waiting and following.

Here the butterfly is hanging upside down which makes it difficult to distinguish what you are viewing.
As the butterfly pumps fluid from its abdomen into its crumpled wings, the familiar silhouette begins to take shape.
Extending its wings, the butterfly rests until its wings are fully “hardened.”

Then she climbed onto the rim of the jar, and from there climbed onto the mesh of the butterfly habitat. (That's an affiliate link.  If it bothers you that I might make a few cents when you follow a link and make a purchase, please feel free to do a google search for items on your own.  No hard feelings, I promise.  But for those of you who do purchase from my links, thanks!)  
female tiger swallowtail butterfly
I waited until all the kids were home from school, then we released her.

If you haven’t been following, you might be wondering, “How do you know this is a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and not a Black Swallowtail?”  If you look closely at her forewings, you can see dim shadows of the typical vertical black stripes near the top edge of her wing.  The underside of her abdomen is black with yellow stripes which is another way to tell these apart from black swallowtails.  Female tiger swallowtails can be either yellow with stripes, or black like this one.  I was really hoping to see a black one since the butterfly that had been flying around my garden and presumably laid this butterfly’s egg was black, also.

Want to see the whole process from egg to butterfly? Check out the whole series here:

And if I have inspired you to start your own caterpillar to butterfly project, you'll want to check out my tips here:


Snap said…
Gorgeous. Fair skies to Ms. Swallowtail.
Unknown said…
We have loved this journey. Thanks for sharing it with us Adrienne.
Anonymous said…
And so, dear one... that hard, hard journey for the caterpillar is over, and she is now flying free. What a lovely life lesson for ALL of us... and what a blessing for God to give to YOU at this particular season in your life. Everything happens for a reason... and I believe that you found these eggs and witnessed this journey (and so generously allowed all of US to tag along) because God wanted you to see through HIS eyes. Thank you for sharing; I know this will be a comfort for many years to come. Isn't she beautiful? wow.
Ali said…
Yay!! Congrats, she is beautiful ;-) Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful photos and posts of the journey of the caterpillar to butterfly.
The birth of a gorgeous butterfly, Adrienne.... You are a Grammy!!!!! Congrats. She is beautiful!!!
Unknown said…
Fascinating! Life begins again while attached to a jar. Go figure.
Kelly said…
...this is so cool!!! She is gorgeous...
Judy said…
This has been a fascinating journey for me! I love the last shot of the butterfly, before she heads off into the world! The perfection of the shape of her wings, and the traces of irridescence in them!!!

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