Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Life Cycle--UPDATED

When we lived in Massachusetts, I started a 6'x6' plot in my garden full of flowers and plants for butterflies! Sadly, I never got to see it do what it was meant to do ... attract butterflies, lay their eggs, and produce new butterflies.

Last spring I purchased a Passion Flower plant and knew it would attract butterflies, which it did ... it sat dormant in my greenhouse during the winter and was placed back on the patio in April. Well ... it did more than just attract a butterfly this Summer ... a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (click on link to find out more about this butterfly) used my passion flower plant as the HOST plant!

Early last week, I noticed teeny, tiny caterpillar crawling around the plant ... I checked the plant and found really small eggs on a couple of the leaves ... by the end of the day, a few of the caterpillar were BIG and I was able to google to see what kind of caterpillar they were.
The first caterpillar I noticed!  The underside of this leaf is where there were quite a few eggs!
The little guy below ate that ENTIRE seed pod by himself!

The caterpillar are orange with greyish/lavender stripes and black spikes ... that are actually soft, even through they look like they would hurt!
NOW ... the dilemma ... I knew these guys would be HUNGRY .... and unlike The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they do not eat ice cream cones and pizza .... they would eat and e a t and e a T and e A T and E A T and EAT and EAT and
the Passion Flower plant .... which they DID!
Part of me was sad that the plant was going to be decimated and part of me was
bursting inside because the plant did what it was supposed to do!
Sometimes in life ... one thing must give of itself so that others can flourish!

This guy went rogue and was exploring!

It was so awesome to watch what I teach the children each year happening in real time right on my patio! I so wished I would have been able to share all this with the Kindergarten Kids as it was happening!!!!

Close up ... I absolutely love the colors of this guy!
I love the picture below because you can see his antennae and his legs and I love how he's hanging onto that one part of the plant that used to have LOTS of leaves on it!!!!
and ... I knew it was coming .... today I went out at 7am to water my plants and the caterpillar were still crawling around the plant ... I went out at 11am and BAM!!!  there are three chrysalis!  I'm so thrilled!!!!!  Below is my favorite shot of one of the chrysalis! It's almost kind of creepy!!!
It looks like it's staring at me and it's glowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I knew what was going to happen to the Passion Flower plant and it now will require LOTS of TLC! There are sprouts popping up near the bottom of the plant and I'm hoping I can get those to become strong and save the plant ... time will tell ....
As you can see ... my HUNGRY CATERPILLARS (all 13 of them) were VERY HUNGRY!
I now will watch the chrysalis ... and in about 7-10 days, hopefully I'll see them emerge!!!!
Below are a few cute pics of other friends in the garden.
The grasshopper on the left reminds me of JIMINY CRICKET
and the baby on the right was having fun chasing the caterpillars on the Passion Flower -- his antennae are soooooo long!!!!  and his back legs look awkward ... but he's cute!
I hope I'll be able to share pictures of the Gulf Fritillary as they emerge from their chrysalis ...
hope you enjoyed these pictures.
UPDATED -- Today is Thursday, July 30 and
one of the caterpillars got caught in the act!
AND ... I got lucky and actually saw a GULF FRITILLARY land on the Passion Plant!!!!
July 30 - 2015 @ 7:30am
July 30 - 2015 @7:45am
July 30 - 2015 @8:05am 
July 30 - 2015 @8:20am
Could it be???
July 30 - 2015 @9:45am
I believe it is a GULF FRITILLARY!!!!!!!!


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