Saturday, 4 July 2015

Another cocoon: Mourning cloak

Nymphalis antiopa Mourning Cloak
My expert at BAMONA says, take in the cocoons and shelter them. It is amazing to watch.

I use an old aquarium, with an old window screen. Carefully removing the cocoon with tweezers, I tied a string to the threads on the end. Then, I taped it to a piece of vinyl, letting it dangle as it was.
There are two on the go here. The brownish one is a Mourning Cloak butterfly. The other black one is a Virginia Ctenucha.
Left: Mourning cloak, right Virginia
Thursday night it began to change to black.
I knew it was nearly time.
They tell me they hatch in the morning.

Looks like a pretty, upside bat!

5:30 a.m.
My set-up: videocam on the tripod,
thermometer says 10 C., 'twas a cold night!

Sun is rising.
I had three helpers, with Daisy on-call in the Muskoka room beyond.
I set the camera to run, popping back over to it to shut it off and begin a fresh clip. I find this works better. Then, discovering that the spare battery was dying, I'd cleverly replaced it first, I figured I had to plug it all in. That was better.

Time passed. I read yesterday's paper, did some computing, today's blog post, had 3 cups of coffee. By 7:00 a.m., hubby got up. Still nothing. By 9:00 hubby was watching tennis. Raonic won. At 9:30, I figured I'd better get my workout done. When I came back upstairs, it had broken free!
It hung on it's cocoon for over two hours. I moved it to the railing, to be out of sight of cats.

Mourning Cloak emerges from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
I waited all morning! The visible process took 10+ minutes, I sped it up 4 x's the speed. It took 2+ hours to rest and then fly away.

15 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Jen, awesome sequence of photos. I enjoyed the video. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Gayle said...

Thank you for the play by play of this wonderful critter.

TexWisGirl said...

how neat! i love these butterflies and spot them only rarely here.

Snap said...

Wonderful! Great video too. Happy Critter Day!

Latane Barton said...

Those are such interesting things to watch. My 4 year old great-grandson had a kit (store bought) and got to see the butterflies emerge. Then he set them free. He said, 'They are so happy'.

William Kendall said...

I know they need the time after breaking out of the cocoon to rest, recover their strength.

Christine said...

magical video Jenn! Thanks for sharing.

Nancy J said...

Fantastic video. Like Mr J., I am watching Wimbledon tennis too. Down here it starts at midnight, and continues through the morning. yesterday I was watching Isner and Cilic, but not from that early hour, maybe 5 a.m. or so... until the light faded. I have missed the last part of their final set, but can see it on TVNZ on demand on the laptop. What a huge crowd there.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

How wonderful! I loved the video. Have a great weekend.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
this is so special!!! YAM xx

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Wonderful! I see the Mourning Cloak in West Virginia.

Unlike some of the other big butterflies, they're not down by the lake...they're in the woods up the mountain.
~

Red said...

So what you're saying is that even retired people don't have enough time to watch a butterfly come out of it's cocoon!

Gill - That British Woman said...

that is so interesting to see. Thank you for capturing it.

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful video. Have a great week ahead.

Hannah said...

Great photos and video! I love Mourning Cloaks but don't see them here. The chrysalis is amazing, with the curved side with spines and the part above that looks like a bird's face to me.