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Published on Mar 4, 2008
A very close-up look at the pupation process of the Indra Swallowtail Butterfly (subspecies phyllisae), accompanied by still images of the adult, larvae and a time lapse emerging sequence.
Normally, the caterpillar molts its old skin as it grows (because the skin doesn't grow with the caterpillar), and a new caterpillar emerges.
However, when the caterpillar reaches maturity, it selects a secluded location and "straps itself in" with silk for the final molt into a "pupa" or "chrysalis" (shown here), and cannot move. This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMdrBg...) shows indra swallowtails strapping themselves in with silk, and this one of a Pale Swallowtail larva strapping itself in shows the event in very clear detail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfSZcH...
This is the first step of its metamorphosis into the adult insect. The pupa hardens and changes color to better match the environment, since it may remain this way for up to 7 years before the adult butterfly emerges.
Pupation and preparation timeline: The caterpillar wanders 1-2 days looking for a safe spot to pupate. Once it finds a good spot, it sits there, idle, for up to 24 hours, verifying that the site is suitable. It makes a light silk pad on the selected substrate, and adds three silk "buttons" (two to anchor the suspension loop, and one to attach its tail "cremaster"). Once strapped in, it hangs there for 1 to 2 days, preparing for pupation. The actual skin molt takes only a few minutes, and final forming to shape takes another 2 hours or so.
It's a fairly long process altogether, with only a few "action" events and a LOT of waiting around while cellular processes go on inside.
The soundtrack is "Idnarepo Sodum" from the "TimeShift" CD by Technician (yours truly), album and single track available on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/time... full artist discography and CDs available at HTTP://technician.jcmdi.com
Contains JCMDI video catalog #s: V00565,V00566,V00567,V00568,V00569,V00564
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