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Anise Swallowtail
Lens: DA35 Camera: K5 
Posted By: Timtast1c, 10-16-2011, 06:50 PM

I haven't posted in a while but I've been working on a project lately. It's difficult to describe the process in just a few photos so there are a bunch!

I found a group of 5 caterpillars in july on the same plant that I found caterpillars on last year. The adults emerged and laid eggs....about 100.

Come a month later and all 100 butterflies hatched and laid eggs again.

Here's a little insight on the project.



Caterpillars are in their last growth stage (5th instar) and are eating voraciously to pack on enough fat before becoming chyrsalis. They ate all of the leaves you see.....X5.

1.

Caterpillar Bokeh.

2.

An unusual black and teal morph showed up in this batch

3.

Normal vs. Unusual
4.

5. 6. 7.

Chrysalis! in all colors!
8. 9.

Chrysalis in hatching chamber....time for the waiting game...
10.
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10-16-2011, 06:50 PM   #2
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Some on the top left have already emerged. the rest are still developing. The skin becomes clear about 12 hours before emergence
11.

Turn around for a minute and there are more!
12.

Emerged adults move to the top of the enclosure and hang upside down to inflate their wings to full size. They are ready to fly in about an hour
13.

The group! A soft hamper doubles as an excellent transfer container.
14.

While the weather was bad outside I kept them inside in a tent.
15.


Feeding
16.

Flying Machine
17.

Two Females
18.
10-16-2011, 06:51 PM   #3
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Two Males
19.

Males of this species exhibit a behavior known as hilltopping. Males congregate at hill tops where they patrol territory for females. It is thought that this allows to butterflies to concentrate themselves for higher breeding potential. This might help explain why there are so many butterflies on grassy hilltops next time you find yourself surrounded!
20.
Glamour Shots
21.

22. 23.

A female on the host plant called Sweet Fennel. Sweet Fennel is a naturalized invasive from Europe. It is related to carrots, parsley, and other plants within the same family. it is widely distributed and has proved advantageous for the Anise Swallowtail which would otherwise be faring fare worse in our ever developing world.
24.

25.

Mating
26.

Resting
27.

To fly or not to fly
28.

Laying eggs....and the cycle begins again!
29.
10-16-2011, 07:02 PM   #4
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Absolutely fascinating.
The superb pictures speak for themselves, number 3 being my favourite.
A pat on the back for dedication.

10-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Amazing photography and wonderful narrative. Worthy of National Geographic magazine, thank you so much for all of your efforts, greatly appreciated and I plan on sharing this thread with my grandchildren. Bob
10-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #6
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Incredible series of images and an amazing study in the mating of butterflies!
10-16-2011, 08:18 PM   #7
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wooowww!!!! awesome colours, great pictures!
10-16-2011, 10:08 PM   #8
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What an absolutely awesome documentary, both in images and narrative. Thanks a lot for posting this series.

10-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! The current batch looks like it will be about 300 individuals. Funny to think i started with 5
10-17-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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I was wondering where you went! Un-be-lievable as always. Awesome project with some incredibly good images.
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