an independent thinker

It’s cool and rainy and I felt like taking the day off from posting, but then *this* came along and asked to be reported.

Yesterday, I had mentioned that caterpillars “become very restless and prone to wander far once they begin looking for a place to pupate.” This morning, I found the chrysalis of an independent thinker at the very top of one of the living room curtains. We’ll just leave it in place and try to avoid disturibing it until the butterfly ecloses.

All of a sudden, we seem to have a rush of caterpillars looking for suitable sites to pupate. Just a few minutes ago, I checked and there are 8 caterpillars roving around the table top, checking out pottery bowls and other objects as possible locations to hang up and do their transformation thing. I’ll have to scrounge up some more jars and cut up more bits of screen to accommodate everyone. It seems that I must have collected a lot of tiny caterpillars of about the same size over a couple of days back awhile ago as there are just so many hitting full size now — 4 made chrysalises yesterday and there should be at least 4 more today, and now this restless group of 8 — and by the size of some of the others that are still happily munching on milkweed leaves, I’d say there could be another half dozen tomorrow. We should have quite a flight of Monarchs eclosing around the same time in a little over a week. I sure hope the tags have arrived by then! (-:

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7 Responses to “an independent thinker”

  1. Laura Says:

    I think your place would make a great location for a dinner party – imagine the conversation – and there’d be no need of any fussy decorations with all the beautiful chrysalises (sp. ?) and monarchs flitting about to dry their wings!

    I can’t get over how pretty they are. Have you ever posted about what the bit of gold is for?

  2. robin andrea Says:

    I like it that they truly make themselves at home! The curtains look like a lovely place to transform into butterfly. The next few days will probably be very interesting with all the stages happening at once in different jars and parts of your house like some wild biological dance.

  3. burning silo Says:

    Laura – This afternoon, I released the third butterfly thus far. It eclosed yesterday, but there was a storm last night, so I put it in the sun porch for the night. It was so neat seeing it flying around out there this afternoon before I released it. I’m just imagining how the porch will look with about a dozen butterflies zooming around out there in a week or so if all goes well. They’ll be having a party of their own. 9-:

    Robin – They do seem to have made themselves at home, or maybe “taken over” is a better description of what seems to be going on here. It certainly is turning out to be kind of hectic (in a nice way).

  4. Wayne Says:

    Yep – I agree with Laura and Robin – definitely an interesting idea in home decor! I’m especially interesting in the tagging process, when the tags arrive.

    BTW, Glenn photographed a Monarch last week on the edge of Lake Oglethorpe a couple miles away. So they are around, they just aren’t visiting us!

  5. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – I’ll be sure to post some photos of the tagging as I’m interested in how it’s done, what the tags look like, etc… I do hope they arrive soon as I’m sure we’ll see several butterflies eclosing this week. So! The Monarchs are around, but just not visiting Sparkleberry! Is the vegetation around the lake a bit greener than around your place as a result of the summer drought? In past years when we’ve seen almost no Monarchs, we have noticed them at a nearby conservation area that’s located alongside the river.

  6. Wayne Says:

    Bev – I suspect our major problem is a lack of large open clear spaces, which makes it hard to grow the plants that require that and I suspect Monarchs really like an open space. The trees and vegetation grow extremely close around here.

    I’ve planted a number of species of milkweeds, but my choices seem to have been poor, or perhaps poorly placed. We’ve never had any, including the butterfly weed, really “take off”. I have to concentrate on that this winter.

  7. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – I keep forgetting that you don’t have much in the way of meadows or forest openings. I guess that have to be at least some, although I frequently encounter Monarch butterflies along our forest trails and have found some caterpillars on leaves of the odd Common Milkweed that grow here and there along the paths in the Aspen and Poplar woods. I have also noticed that the most successful caterpillars… those that avoid being killed by predatory insects, seem to be on milkweed plants along the forest edges. Amazing how the butterflies can find these scattered plants to lay their eggs on, but they do.