Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flappy emerges


 My little caterpillar friend emerged as a Monarch Butterfly.  I wonder what it must be like when they first come out.  The enter their pupa as a long slow moving caterpillar with many tiny little legs then seal themselves up and turn into a goo.  The goo reassembles itself into a completely new shape with long thin legs and with wings that, after just a few minutes of flying, have taken it further than it ever roamed as a caterpillar.  I wonder if they remember their previous life as a
caterpillar and marvel at the new long legs and then discover an instinctual urge to fly, or more likely I guess, they simply emerge knowing.  As a Monarch butterfly they now will live a few weeks and will fly as far south as they can before continuing a new generation, which will follow the same steps over and over until reaching Mexico a remarkable 3000 Kilometers away (1864 Miles for the Americans reading).
On the map to the right I live around where the upper red 2 is.   Chompy/Hangy who I shall now refer to as Flappy snuck out of his pupa and was hanging when I came to check up on him so I did miss that spot where he somehow gets out of the pupa.  Maybe they bite their way out, so I found him or her hanging off the empty pupa shell drying her damp wings.  She stayed like this for the entire night and was there the next morning.  She sat on my finger for a bit warming up and then I put her on a nice sunny leaf and when I came back from making coffee she had already started her journey to Mexico.  Good luck Flappy you can do it!

5 comments:

Ceorl said...

So glad Flappy is well launched. I did not get any Monarch chrysalises in my milkweed patch this year at all. I recently heard a RadioLab episode where they described an experiment which showed some memory is passed from caterpillar to butterfly. In this case just a learned aversion to a nasty smell, but still that is something.

JubJub Forder said...

A fascinating subject - how can they remember where to go through many generations? And which way - Mexico or back?
Memories can be passed genetically, thru many generations, and multiple complete metamorphoses?

We still have so much to learn.

Here in New Zealand, they don't migrate, but do 'winter' in large numbers in 'home' groves of trees.

Edward Starsmith said...

Is this a Flappy pit stop?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I60gr0ZQfw

If Flappy travels along the red 3 line on the map, I have some plants out just for feeding butterflies. He had better hurry though. It's unseasonably cool here.

Mos Kingsley said...

Going from Chompy to Flappy the Free in a mere 16 days, that IS impressive. I hope he remembers being chompy, it's the kind of transformation we humans can only dream about! Thanks for sharing.

Mireille said...

Oh, Bryn! I love this... We have been to Pacific Grove (CA) many times during the Monarchs' over-wintering there. The Monarch Grove Sanctuary is filled with them and you can see them elsewhere in the area. They are simply fascinating as they rest among the trees, opening their wings to the morning sun, draped in that light ocean fog.
My poem, metamorphosis, is dear to me, having been written when I was very young, not long after visiting a traveling butterfly exhibit in San Diego. I will post it on my blog soon and will send you a copy in-world. I hope you'll enjoy it.
I always have fuschia plants and others that draw the butterflies in my yard, and I love seeing them there. They lift my spirit. As for Flappy: fly free, Flappy! You carry your home in your heart...