So with thanks to my friend Marianne who told me to just set up a camera and leave the video running, but also set a timer to remind me every 15 mins or so to check on it, I duly set to work. Luckily my OH had a mini tripod that was perfect for my old Cybershot. Out came the blue tack to fix the stick in place - as I needed light for the video I stuck the top of the stick to the window frame. Then the background looked naff so my OH got some kitchen paper and we blue tacked that in place to make this makeshift studio!
After running two batteries flat that afternoon/early evening I was pretty sure it would be eclosing around 8am the following day as that seems a popular time with these butterflies. So I set the video but also decided to sit in the kitchen waiting and watching.... when suddenly I noticed the chrysalis had just started to split. I grabbed my camera and took photos too (you'll notice my flash going off in the video but that can't be helped).
So here it is, it doesn't last long and you can view it full screen with reasonable quality, but there isn't a medium size option, unfortunately. (P.S. I have reloaded this with added music and taken out the original sound track of me stomping about the kitchen and the noise of my flash going off!)
Aaargh the darn thing climbed straight upwards and up the window frame! I had imagined it would dangle from the chrysalis for a while which is why I set the camera in a position that would show that. Well I'll know next time. :-)
Note the browny-red liquid that the butterfly excreted as it was eclosing. This is pupal fluid although last year's ones managed to do it outside of the chrysalis; this year's are obviously tidy beasts.
So here are the photos I took at the same time as the videos, and would you believe that just after the final shot shown here the batteries died in my Speedlite! But it didn't matter as I've plenty of photos from that stage onwards from the other butterflies.
|Climbing up the window frame.|
This was the only salvageable bit of the rest of the video which started with the eclosion - a few seconds where it sticks its proboscis out and has a good old wiggle. I had grabbed the camera, tripod and all, to try to film some more but managed to get most of it out of focus!
Here are a few photos from the first Swallowtail to eclose that I must have just missed by a minute or two, judging by how crumpled up its wings are. These start to smooth out very quickly after eclosion.
|Freshly eclosed and climbing up the stick towards the chrysalis that featured in my video.|
|Hugging its sibling!|
|I left this one in the box for a while, usually I put them on a pot plant but it seemed |
perfectly happy hanging off the chrysalises and getting its wings in working order!
Here's a not very good video of one of them flapping its wings to pump 'blood' (called hemolymph) into them and also exercising its proboscis a bit.
|My African Violet makes a handy place for them to hang from |
until they are ready to go outside.
|You get nicer photo ops with flowers in the background.|
And here's one from last year when it was released. I already took dozens of photos of them last year when I set them free. My first two this year flew off straight away and the third sat on a flower for a while.
|It's a really wonderful feeling releasing these beautiful creatures that you've raised yourself.|
Well there you have it, over these 10 posts I think I have pretty much covered everything involved in the whole life cycle of these butterflies, but if there's an opportunity to video a pupation.... well I'll see how I go with the next batch!
The previous post showing photos of a pupation are here in Part 9, if you missed it.