After what seemed an eternity of dry hot weather, the monsoons have finally arrived.
This is the time the desert plants and animals become more active and the Sonoran Desert morphs into a living terrarium with the simple addition of rain. Because of this it is my favorite time of year, despite the high temps and humidity.
This afternoon I set two new camera traps in a mountain range SE of Tucson. On the way to the sites I had selected I came across some common, but beautiful insects:
There have been a number of Great Purple Hairstreak Butterflies have been visiting the Desert Broom in my yard. In the following video, notice how it moves its wings as it moves over the flowers drinking nectar. Love how they look like antennae, confusing predators:
There are several Desert Broom shrubs blooming in my yard. This plant blooms in the fall, well after the monsoon wildflowers do. Like last year, I’ve been reminded that a plethora of insects love this plant:
The queen butterfly chrysalis that I’ve been watching went through another stage of metamorphosis this morning (video below).
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.
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.