Eclosion of the Painted Jezebel

on 29th April 2015

Of the eight or more caterpillars of the Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete) feeding on the leaves of the Malayan Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra), I managed to retrieve only one pupa. As is usual with these caterpillars, they move in different direction to pupate. This is a strategy of not “putting all the eggs in one basket” to ensure at least one or a few survive the pupal stage LINK.

This pupa was monitored seven days later in an effort to catch the magical moment of eclosion. Just before the time of eclosion, the pupa took on a different appearance, most obvious of which were the change in colour and the appearance of wings buds, eyes, etc.

The videocam was set up and the pupa regularly checked. Unfortunately I missed out on the moment but thanks to technology, the video managed to recorded the moment of exclusion – see below.

The butterfly forced its way through the upper portion of the pupal case, using its abdomen and legs to move up the pupal case. Once it got out of the pupal case, it slipped somewhat downwards. Clawing back up, the newly emerged butterfly managed to cling on to the exquisitely beautiful and delicate pupal case.

It then slowly moved up to the stand where the leaf was attached but strong wind blew it down to the ground. That was the moment when I checked on the state of eclosion and found the newly eclosed Painted Jezebel lying helplessly on the ground.

The wings were still damp and somewhat crumpled. The veins were not fully pumped up with blood to make them fully functional. I allowed the butterfly to crawl on to my finger and transferred it to the clamp. There, it remained for the next hour or so before flying off.

The clip above shows another instance of eclosion but fast forward 2x.

YC Wee
April 2015

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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