Monday, September 8, 2008

Not a Good Day for Flying

Just about every year since living in this house (8 years), I have come upon a creature I've never seen before.  It's not that I wasn't looking when I lived in suburbia; I think it was because of all the pesticide use for the perfect yard and beds in my old neighborhood.

This year the find was a hatch of about 20 neon yellow caterpillars with racing stripes.  They are Cloudless Sulphur butterfly cats. This pic was taken on August 28th.  Judging by their size, it seemed as though it wouldn't be long until the chrysalis stage.
That was the Thursday just prior to Labor day and I forgot about them.  When I went back out on September 2nd, this is what I found.  I wasn't sure how long they'd been this way, so I had no idea when to expect a hatch.
Again, another weekend had me doing other things and I forgot about them.  This morning as I wandered up the driveway for the paper, it began to spit rain (which is all it did, btw.).  I walked by the tree the chrysalis' were in and made a note to take a look when it got light out.  
It was a good thing I remembered them. If I'd have waited one more day, I'd have missed them.  It was still very damp, but the tree was covered with butterfly ornaments.  All in varying stages of drying their wings.  

According to my search on the matter, this is a male Cloudless.  If you click on the picture, you will see a couple non-descript white spots on the wing.  If this were a female, the spots would be much larger and ringed with a copper color.  Another bit of useless trivia unless you are an entomologist. 


  1. You are such an observant person. A perfect naturalist.

    And I just love your description: A tree covered with butterfly ornaments.



  2. Oh, very cool...Jim and I have noticed the same thing about all the new creatures, critters, insects, etc., we are seeing out here vs. what we saw at our former home in the city (30 minutes away) - we swear it is the pesticide/chemical usage that has eliminated the diverse species that we're seeing out here now. We delight in each new discovery out here! Wonderful pictures and story - very interesting!!

  3. This is so cool. I have been seeing many more monarchs this year but I haven't seen these before.