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.


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.