Well, the last two days have been most exciting! I went out to check on the cage yesterday morning and what should I see?
TWO of the chrysalides had marched (eclosed) overnight!
I was thrilled to see they were both healthy-looking females. There were no signs of OE (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha) infection, such as malformed wings, that I have seen in the past.
I opened the flap and, with a little help from me and a ride on my hand for one of them, they exited the cage and rested on the mesh for a while before heading off to the zinnia and milkweed in the island bed.
From what I saw yesterday, there were four more chrysalides and one more caterpillar on the milkweed. At that time, it didn't appear that any of the chrysalides had turned color, but when I went out to look this morning, a beautiful male had hatched.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of him. It was so humid this morning my camera lens kept steaming up!
I've been absolutely thrilled with this experience, and we still have three more to go (plus the caterpillar).
I'm going to keep searching the milkweed in the island bed for signs of eggs or caterpillars that can be moved to the cage.
But first, once these have all hatched I need to clean out the cage -- who knew caterpillars could POO so much?!
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.