Friday, January 9, 2009

Tawny Coster’s Emergernce
A Tawny Coster butterfly is hanging on a twig, having just emerged from its pupa or chrysalis. It is very much different from the thorny red brown caterpillar. Its wings are still crumpled, but it is already obvious that their shape is visible, and that the subtle yellow / orange / red with white spots on the underside is brightly shining. Soon it will extend its wings as they dry, and blood begins to be pumped into them and then it will be able to fly off free in nature.
A month before, after eating its own eggshell, which was full off valuable nutrients, a tiny caterpillar started to wriggle on a leaf of Passiflora in search of more food. The eggs were laid in batches and can be from 20 to 100 per leaf. The color of the egg is light yellow, slightly elongated and tall. The caterpillar after hatching from the egg lives together for several hours on the same leaf and chewing the top layer. After some time they depart and start living individually chewing their own leaf after leaf. It is dark brown / red in color with lots of spines on the body. Its appetite was insatiable. It chewed and chewed, shedding its skin each time it became too big for it. The caterpillars feed so fast that they destroys branch after branch. The pupa is white with black lines, spots and red markings. It is elongated and suspended freely from the support. It is one of the most beautifully marked pupa in our Indian species.
Few insects that undergo complete metamorphosis start life looking nothing at all like their parents. However many times the larva sheds its skin, it does not become any more like the mature form until a miraculous change takes place inside the pupa. Once it emerges as an adult, it will not grow any more because it can never shed its exoskeleton (outer skin). Bees, wasps, ants, beetles, butterflies and moths all undergo complete metamorphosis.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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