Yesterday, just before the naturalist class started, I got a text message from my sister Melissa letting me know that the Painted Lady butterflies were emerging. She saw one of the chrysalises waggling and was worried that it might have been in a draft or something… then she saw the antenna pop out of it followed by the butterfly’s head. You can see the butterfly in the first video.
I had actually left the butterfly cage at home, rather than bringing it to class with me, because I thought everyone was still pretty much asleep in there. So, wouldn’t you know it, they chose that day to emerge! I let the class know that “we have babies!” and they were all excited to be able to see them, so when I got home, I took some photos and video snippets, which you can see HERE.
You can distinguish these Painted Ladies from their sister species, West Coast Ladies, by the dots on the top of the hind wings. In Painted Ladies, the dots are dark brown; in West Coast Ladies, they’re pale blue. Both species are native to California and use thistles as one of their host plants.
By the time I got home most of the butterflies were out and resting in the butterfly cage. One of the other chrysalises was waggling a lot, but it didn’t open while I was watching it. (You can see it wiggling next to an empty chrysalis in the second video.)