Not every creature gets to live a long life. This page looks at aging
butterflies, and a few of the butterfly endings I've observed.
This Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
has lost lots of
lose them with age, and it does not look like they
are able to grow them back.
It's drinking nectar from the Firebush flower.
These Zebra Heliconian Butterfly
have a medical problem, and it killed them. They seemed to melt; it was
really gross! I'm still not sure if it was some germ or bacteria
(update, probably bacteria; see my
raising caterpillars page two
), or if
a predatory bug
injected them with something to dissolve them so it
could slurp them up. I didn't see any creepy bugs
lingering nearby. If I
like this again, I'll pay more attention and watch for
a longer time to see if I can figure out what got them.
This Atala Butterfly
never made it out of its chrysalis. I've seen a lot of Atala
Butterflies stuck that way. Other butterflies get stuck too (I saw a stuck sulphur
recently) but I don't
notice it like I have with the Atala Butterflies because they hide their chrysalides
better. The Atala chrysalides are lined up like Christmas ornaments on
their host plant Coontie
they're very easy to find.
The web speaks for itself. That's an Atala stuck in it. When I looked
later in the day, the Atala was gone, and there was no blob in the web
that looked like the Gasteracantha cancriformis
wrapped it up for dinner, so it got
away, fell out, or something else ate it.
Here's another Atala in a web. This one was very dead, but the
Silver Argiope Spider
never seemed interested in it.
When I picked up the stick this (moth
?) caterpillar was on, and dropped
it in a container to raise and see what it became, all these maggot like
squiggly worms crawled out of it, right through the skin - GROSS!!!
Within a few hours, they cocooned, and a week or so later a LOT of
little flies came out. I have them dead in the container - I'll dump
them out and take a picture soon. I wanted to make sure none got away to
take out another caterpillar!
When I dumped them out for a picture, most of them stuck to the stick
where the caterpillar was, but you can see a few still stuck to the
caterpillar that haven't finished cocooning yet.
This Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
was in its J
form ready to become a chrysalis. I noticed some gnats on it. I remembered
reading about tachinid flies and parasitic wasps, so I captured it,
flies and all, to see what emerged. I'm REALLY glad I used the duct
tape, because about a hundred tiny flies came out of the chrysalis
instead of a butterfly.
I finally dumped the bugs out to photograph them. Now that I've
looked at the pictures and seen them magnified, I think they're
parasitic wasps. You can see for yourself on
where I've posted
I saw this little beetle going after a dead
Zebra Heliconian Butterfly
Caterpillar. I glanced at it a bit
later and it was still there. A couple of hours later, I went out
for more pictures of it, but the beetle was gone, and all that was left
of the caterpillar was the outer skin and spines on the leaf below.
you can ID the beetle, let me know.
Have a look at a very different parasitic wasp
that emerged from a Zebra Heliconian butterfly chrysalis.