Crow butterfly – caterpillar and chrysalis

A little while ago I posted pictures of a full-grown Crow butterfly caterpillar and an egg just laid by an adult of the same species. I was lucky enough to follow the development of both of them

The egg was laid on a bud on March 19 and I was concerned about what would happen to it if the bud opened before the egg hatched. I needn’t have worried: mother obviously knew best.

On the 22nd I saw a very tiny caterpillar munching on the soft juicy petals, and I photographed it each day for four days, at which time the remains of the bud fell off the plant and I lost track of the caterpillar. The developmental sequence is very clear: the creamy infant darkens and grows spines although it doesn’t achieve the full orange-black-white colour scheme in those first few days.

cream caterpillar on pink bud
Crow caterpillar day 1 (click for larger image, as usual)
darker caterpillar
Crow caterpillar day 2
caterpillar on damaged bud
Crow caterpillar day 3 – the bud looking the worse for wear

 

caterpillar with spines
Crow caterpillar day 4

Meanwhile, the fullgrown caterpillar was ready to pupate. I only have two photos of the chrysalis because it did not change much. When very new – in the first two or three days after it was made – it was a milky white with faint brownish markings but it soon turned bright silver,  the coloration all the reference books mention.

white chrysalis under leaf
Crow chrysalis soon after forming
Crow chrysalis in sliver
Crow chrysalis in sliver

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