caterpillar ~ chrysalis ~ butterfly

The queen butterfly chrysalis that I’ve been watching went through another stage of metamorphosis this morning (video below).

Queen butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

This time from chrysalis (pupa) to butterfly. It took 9 days for the chrysalis to go through the cell growth and differentiation to become an adult butterfly. Visually, we can see the morphological changes which is magical in itself.  What we can’t see are the changes the insect goes through on a cellular level, from larva to pupa and pupa to butterfly. The next photo, taken late at night before the complete metamorphosis, shows the chrysalis clearing to reveal the nearly developed adult butterfly.  The video of the whole process follows.

Chrysalis metamorphosis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Chrysalis metamorphosis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Watching this process I’ve been wondering if the ‘mind’ of the insect remains intact through the whole process: did it know it was a caterpillar, then a chrysalis before becoming a butterfly? Please watch the following video in HD and full screen for best detail.  To see the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis, skip to the 4:00 minute mark.

Adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

mountain lion

I took the following photos of Cruz, an orphaned mountain lion, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Cruz... Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Cruz… Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Cruz. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Cruz. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Cruz. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Cruz. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Copyright: Greg Joder.

metamorphosis – larva to chrysalis

Queen Butterfly Caterpillar.  Copyright:  Greg Joder
Queen Butterfly Caterpillar. Copyright: Greg Joder

I’ve been keeping an eye on the queen butterfly caterpillars that have been feeding on the milkweed and other plants in my yard.  My wish was to see one go through metamorphosis, changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis.  After a couple missed attempts I was finally able to capture the transformation on video.  The first part of the video starts at normal speed then into timelapse.  The second part shows the main transformation in normal time.  I recommend watching in fullscreen and in HD:

Tropical Storm Newton

Tropical Storm Newton recently passed through Tucson and it dropped a lot of water on the way.  Enough that some washes flowed.  The storm also brought in lost pelagic seabirds from the Sea of Cortez, like the Least Storm-Petrel.  The Tucson Wildlife Center took in two petrels. Both did not make it as they had simply run out of gas.  Here is their Press Release: Sea of Cortez Petrels.

life in my yard

This afternoon I spent an hour or so wandering around my yard to see what I could spy.  Of course I had my camera gear with me and recorded what I consider to be some pretty cool critters.

First, A female Desert Spiny Lizard, on the rocks:

Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Wildflower blooms with some cool pollinator bugs:

Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar dining on milkweed:

And, a desert milkweed seed pod:

Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.

 

lesser long-nosed bats

Lesser Long-nosed Bat. Copyright: Greg Joder.

It’s that time of year when the nectarivorous bats raid my hummingbird feeders each night.  I love that the bats visit.  All I have to do is make more sugar nectar each week since they’re pretty sloppy at the feeders.  Unlike hummingbirds, bats can’t really hover, so they end up doing crazy acrobatics in order to capture just a taste of the sugar water:

If you happen to live in Tucson, there is a local bridge that is well-known for its bat colony.  Every evening tens of people turn out to watch tens-of-thousands of bats emerge from the crevices in the bridge and fly off for a night of hunting: