My caterpillars have been entertaining me today.
They were very well behaved when the time came to pupate. For the last week they have been escaping and running all around my kitchen and causing me no end of problems. I was dreading the time when they decided to leave the host plant and pupate but they were all very good and stayed in their cupboard. They made life very easy for me.
This video runs for six minutes because that is how long it takes the caterpillar to shed it’s skin and then attach itself to the roof of the cupboard. I don’t expect people to watch a six minute video, just watch what you like but it is important that we have it.
I will just tell you what you are going to see. The caterpillar has attached a ball of silk to the roof and he is hanging from his two back prolegs. His skin will split and inside there is a chrysalis. There is a moment when the old skin has almost been shed when the caterpillar is quite vulnerable. It is the old skin that is attached to the silk and not the chrysalis, if it sheds too quickly the chrysalis will fall. At this stage it is a very soft bag filled with fluid, if it falls it will probably burst open and die. At the end of the chrysalis there is a hook like structure called a cremaster and before it falls the chrysalis must twist this cremaster into the silk pad and then the old skin can be dropped. That is what all the wriggling about is for toward the end of the video.
That is magic.
Here is one that I made earlier.
That shouldn’t be too difficult, as soon as one emerges I will know that the others are about to do the same. I hope 🙂