Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cloudless Bonus

I thought I'd start off the new year with these stunning photos taken by Yvetta and her family. I'll let Yvetta tell the story, too.

The first batch of pictures were taken by my daughter and my granddaughter. I took them a bouquet of senna flowers to use for Thanksgiving table decor. On the way to their home a little all-yellow caterpillar fell from the flowers onto my slacks. I picked it up and returned it to the flowers. A little over a week later they saw the yellow with brown stripes larvae and sent me a picture. It is in the kitchen on the flowers. It was running out of food so I picked more flowers and they put it in the vase. It ate and ate and ate. I suggested they put a thicker piece of wood in the vase. The next day the caterpillar began its change to the pupa. Today they sent me the picture of the yellow pupa that had become pink and green. Really interesting.

I looked yesterday at the mother plant and there were two more caterpillars. Today I took pictures also and a female cloudless sulphur visited the plant while I was there and laid eggs. I took pictures of the 2 white eggs and the mom. I just read that the eggs will change to orange color. I will keep looking. This is the first time I have observed this butterfly. Fun, fun, fun!!!
The butterflies turned out to be Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae). Yvetta and her family were able to get photos of the entire life cycle of this butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis (pupa) to adult. The photos at the top and bottom show the newly emerged butterfly expanding and drying its wings. What a treat!

The green and the yellow are both the larvae of the sulphur. One site says that the green eat green leaves and the yellow eat the flowers and that they will change color in a few days if they change the food. I am not sure. Could one be in a different stage? A different instar? The green one is now eating yellow flowers so I will check again tomorrow.

Addendum: Yvetta just sent me the end of the story.

The butterfly stayed on the pupa case for 2 days. My daughter brought it back into the house because it was so cold outside. It finally flew to the window and she took it outside. The wind was blowing and she is not sure if it took off or was blown away, but she saw it flying across the street and away. A new butterfly in the big world.


  1. It isn't every day that you get to see a whole life cycle while sitting at your desk. Thanks for a very interesting post.

  2. Just amazing

    DIL in AZ