The miracle that is a butterfly….
I have, over the last 20 years, bred many thousands of butterflies and am always blown away by the metamorphosis of lavae through pupa to butterfly. I am currently breeding about 5 species. A while ago I posted the life history of one of our Hairtails (Anthene). Two days ago I discovered the larvae of our African Monarch, Danaus chrysippus aegyptius, feasting on my Stapeliads. After a bit of a look I found a pupa colouring up. I had great fun photographing the larvae, pupae and emerged adult. So, not to bore you all with test, here are some of the photographs.
Final instar larva of Danaus chrysippus aegyptius (The Arfican Monarch) feasting on the leaves of Stapelia hirsuta, a carrion plant from the Eastern Cape. The egg of this larva was laid, and initially fed on Adenium multiflorum (The Impala Lily) but went onto the Stapeliad when it has flattened the Adenium. The larva is brightly coloured as a warning to birds that it is poisonous.
Pupa of D chrysippus aegyptius colouring up. Note the wings, abdomen, eyes and antannae clearly visible.
Male D chrysippus aegyptius newly emerged from pupa.
Male D chrysippus aegyptius f. liboria, side view.
Male D chrysippus aegyptius f. liboria upper side.