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Butterflies (Pt. 6) – The Dramatic Conclusion

July 29, 2010

So here’s what happened.

(First, if you’re new here, you may want to click on my “butterfly garden” link in the topics column to start from the beginning.)

Monday morning I awoke to find that the chrysalises had changed. The instructions said that when they get dark, that means the butterflies will be coming out soon. I didn’t know what “soon” meant, but I figured it would happen while I was at work. Since I don’t think our personal leave includes butterfly births (though it should!), I was bummed.

Later I realized I should’ve just brought the whole butterfly cage to work with me, but I’M DUMB. Sure enough, when I got home they were all out, hanging around the cage. They took their first buttery breaths (in the words of my friend J) with no one around to witness it.

Hello butterfly indeed. I should warn you that the cage does not look all that pleasant, and I’m about to post some close-up images. The red stuff is not blood, it’s some other nastiness that they have inside of them that they release as they are hatching and ironing out their wings. They didn’t hold back, and somehow it got all over. I had put down paper towel knowing there was going to be a bit of a mess, but I really didn’t expect it to be quite so….red…in there.

And a photography disclaimer: I really struggled to get decent photos (pretty much throughout this butterfly experiment). Often the light wasn’t right or the angle was limited, and then after they hatched they were quite fluttery. So this is the best I could do. If I do this type of experiment again, I will be very tempted to rent a macro lens (unless someone wants to buy me one first).

All five, happy and healthy! Well, healthy, at least. Something tells me butterflies aren’t crazy about being cooped up in a small cage immediately after getting brand new wings.

I was instructed to put flowers or crumpled paper towel in the bottom of their cage and sprinkle some sugar water on them. They weren’t very interested, but this one enjoyed a bit of my concoction, at least

This is their pose most of the time, unless you move the cage a bit and get them to go crazy.

Here you can see his body a little better.

He sees you when you’re sleeping.

You can just keep the butterflies for their entire life (2-3 weeks), but I wanted to let them see the world and maybe have some kids. I let them go the day after they were reborn.

The lovely P agreed to be my assistant and Butterfly Release Princess.

I didn’t really have any expectations about how their release would look. Good thing, because it definitely wasn’t a dreamy scene of fluttering butterflies drifting gracefully away (possibly in a J formation, to honor me). In fact, many were reluctant to go without P urging them along, and would finally escape so quickly that this is the best I could do in capturing that.

I love P’s expression here! She agreed to let me post this photo even though she says she looks dorky. I said she looks cute and realistic with her expression of wonder. 😉 I had to point out the butterfly since he’s just a tiny blur.

Okay, that’s it! This entry has taken forever to put together, so please love it so much.


From → butterfly garden

  1. When I saw you had posted the finale – my first thought was YAY! thank you – have loved the whole story and pictures are gorgeous

  2. Thanks! 😀

  3. Oh, I love how you caught Butterfly Release Princess' expression! It's not dorky.

  4. Wow, awesome! Great pics of the final product!

    That picture of P is cool, she doesn't look dorky at all.

  5. Thanks! I agree – I thought it was a good catch. 😀

  6. I like how you call them the “final product” like they are manufactured goods. 🙂

  7. LOVE IT! LOL at the flying away in a J formation.

    It's so sad that they only live a few weeks!

  8. Anonymous permalink

    Wow! I didn't know that about the red stuff. Good thinking on the paper towel. What a great success rate, too. You must be a good butter-mom. I love all these photos. I feel bittersweet about the fact that this project (and posts) have all come to an end. It was exciting to see the results, but sad to know that the project is complete … like a good book that you don't want to end or you wonder what's next, but there's no sequel. Thank you for sharing your experience in this. -R

  9. Brenda – I know! It's kind of weird how short bugs live.

    R – It feels bittersweet to me too! I got so used to having them around, changing, that I keep automatically looking at the butterfly cage like there's something to observe. I need to put it away. 😛 It was just kind of fun to have something going at in my place.

  10. I like how you call them the “final product” like they are manufactured goods. 🙂

    Well, weren't they? : )

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