Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly, Et cetera

Although it is pouring down rain, we are warm and snug in our home on wheels.  We knew yesterday that today would be a rainy day, so I made sure I got outside for some needed sun.

Daughter hung her Spring flag

I have been corrected -- what I thought was a Monarch butterfly is actually a Tiger Swallow Tail butterfly -- what do I know about butterflies?  In a previous posting, I stated I had worked most of my life and never really had any hobbies and didn't know much about wildlife.  Well, I proved that today by talking about Monarch butterflies when it is a Tiger Swallow Tail instead.  So, I stand corrected, but I do love looking at different animal species and hopefully, I will continue to study and learn more.  We're never to old to learn, right?  After I made the revision to this post, my husband reminded me that he was the one who told me it was a Monarch butterfly, so I guess we both need to learn more.  Now I want to purchase a butterfly and a bird book -- maybe a flower book -- so I will be better informed!

However, Tiger Swallow Tail butterflies go through the same stages of life as the Monarch -- four stages during one life cycle and four generations in year.  Does that sound confusing?  Well, it is -- at least it is to me.  The four stages are the egg, the larvae (caterpillar),
the pupa and the adult butterfly.  The final generation comes out of hibernation to find a mate, usually in February or March.  They then migrate north and east to find a place to lay their eggs.  This starts stage one and generation one of the butterfly. 

In March and April, the eggs are laid on milkweed plants and hatch into baby caterpillars.  It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch.  The baby caterpillar doesn't do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow.  Approximately two weeks later, the caterpillar is fully-grown and finds a place to attach itself so it can start the next process -- that of metamorphosis.  It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and will  then transform into a  pupa. The ten days of the pupa phase is really a time of rapid change.  During that time,  the old body parts of the caterpillar undergo a remarkable transformation to become a beautiful butterfly.  The  butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and enjoy the short life it has -- usually two to six weeks.  This first generation will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.

This is the stage I saw yesterday as the butterfly flitted from one wild flower to another:

The second generation of is born in May and June and the third generation will be born in July and August.  These butterflies will go through the same four stage life cycle as the first generation, dying two to six weeks after it becomes a beautiful butterfly.  The fourth generation is born in September and October and goes through the same process as the first three generations, except for one part.  The fourth generation does not die after two to six weeks.  Instead, this generation migrates to warmer climates, like Mexico and California, and will live six to eight months until it's time to start the whole process over again.  It is amazing how the four generations work out so the butterfly population can continue to live throughout the years, but not become overpopulated.  God's creation -- there's just not anything quite like it.  

New apartment building waiting for the Martins to move in!

Has anyone seen my Mama?

I have a few more pics but am having probs loading them -- just very slow Internet connection, so I am ending this for now.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Now go out there and live each day to the fullest -- as tho it is your last.  And may God bless our family and friends everywhere!


  1. Excuse me.... But I think that is not a Monarch Butterfly. I think it is a picture of a Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly.

    But otherwise your story is true. :~)

  2. Whatever butterfly that is, it is a remarkable story...and a very pretty butterfly! Great picture. Isn't it amazing how all these things just happen to work out (LOL)??

  3. I checked back. Good revision!

    May many butterflies delight your eyes and lift your spirit with their grace.

  4. Nice job getting a picture of that swallow tail! I've been trying to get some pics of the butterflies here, but they're just not cooperating. :(

  5. Doesn't matter what kind it is, it is beautiful and you took a very good picture of it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. Haven't got a clue on butterfly's, all I know is it looks beautiful!

  7. Yeah, that picture is definitely not a Monarch. Having lived for years not all that far from Monterey and Carmel, we are very familiar with Monarchs. Glad to meetcha on your blog -- we'll follow along for a while, and maybe meet you on the road some time whn you get way out west

  8. That's one good thing about bloggers...if we misname something, someone will know the correct name! :)

  9. We found a large, now brown swallow tail larva on our front steps this morning in Utah. Amazing! This big guy really does mimic a snake well. It rose up, flashed its eye spots and dorsal stripe, and even flicked out what looked like a snakes tongue. We relocated it to a nice tree in hopes it will form its chrysalis! Fascinating!

  10. I see these amazing butterflies on my horseback rides all the time in the mountains. They are so beautiful and make the rides like a fairy land.