The caterpillar has changed a lot in the last week. Here it is 19 days after it emerged from the egg. It is about two inches long, and in my opinion, quite handsome.
Later that day it stopped eating and was still. Soon there was a yellowish stain and greenish stuff at the bottom of the cage. Caterpillars often empty their gut before making a chrysalis.
The next day the caterpillar wandered about the cage, apparently looking for a place to make its chrysalis. Finally it attached itself to the parsley plant (see above) and stayed this way for about 24 hours.
On day 21, I checked the caterpillar often, hoping to see it change into a chrysalis. From previous experience, I know that once the process begins, the caterpillar sheds its skin in a matter of minutes and reveals the chrysalis underneath. However, I missed the actual change and returned to find this chrysalis.
According to The Life Cycles of Butterflies, “During the chrysalis phase, the caterpillar liquefies inside the chrysalis and reorganizes, almost magically transforming into a butterfly. Even after decades of research, all the details of this metamorphosis are not completely understood.” I find all this quite amazing.
This book by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards is one of my favorite butterfly references and their website, ButtterflyNature.com, is another excellent source of information.
Now I wait, and hope to have a butterfly in a week or two.