Thursday, November 15, 2012


Our pupating caterpillar suddenly emerged from his cocoon yesterday morning -- a greenish, fluffy-bodied butterfly.

I would be lying if I claimed to be awed by its beauty. But still, when you think about how it looked just a few weeks ago -- and how quickly it transformed -- well, it's pretty incredible.

It sat on its amaryllis leaf for several hours, probably just drying out. As you can see, it left a strange little puddle of liquid on the windowsill -- "butterfly afterbirth," as Dave called it. Then, in mid-afternoon, I found that it had moved over farther along the window ledge. Taking that as my cue, I opened the window, grabbed it gently by the wings, and set it loose outside.

It fluttered away over the rooftops of the buildings across Westbourne Grove, and I watched it as long as I could, tiny and white and looking something like a blowing leaf in the sunshine.

It's not terribly cold right now -- in the 50s during the day and 40s at night. Maybe Mr. Cabbage White will survive a short time out there in the wild. And maybe not. At any rate, I'm glad nature is taking its course without any involvement from me, and I'm glad he got to fly, even for a brief time.


  1. Very, very cool. I am so grateful that you took these photos. I'm wondering what the afterbirth is made of?

  2. Congratulations, you're a father! I can honestly say I've never known anyone before who "raised" a moth/butterfly from a pupa. I'm impressed!

    I love how furry it is. And the "afterbirth" is rather weird. Who knew?

  3. That is so cool! And it was really fast! I don't know why I thought it would be cooking for several months...

  4. Aw. You did it! Yay! And got pictures!
    Pretty darn cool, Steve.

  5. One year we had butterfly weed growing profusely. It's the larval food for Monarchs. We had chrysalis hanging off everything and the little overhang above the front door. It wasn't unusual that year to go out and there would be a just emerged monarch drying out its wings.

  6. this is really sort of magical.

    and your book came! i love it!!!

  7. That was fast! I was all settled in , waiting for spring for it to emerge- bad timing little butterfly...Nice that it left some "butter". Nice that you let it do it's thing in your cozy home.