Autumn Leaf butterfly: 3. Eclosion

About eight days after the caterpillar turns into a pupa … the Autumn Leaf (Doleschallia bisaltide) butterfly emerges. The entire procedure takes place in two minutes. The pupal case suddenly splits open towards the head end and the butterfly crawls out (see video below).

The butterfly turns around and hangs onto the pupal case. The crumpled wings flatten out after which they are left to dry and strengthen for the next two hours (below). The wings are then tested before the new butterfly flies away.

Note that at 1.30-1.17 second of the video, up to a dozen drops of a red liquid are excreted (below). Subsequently the drops became light brown (2.12 sec) and finally milky white (1.56 sec). This is the meconium, wastes that accumulate during the pupal stage.

The second video on closure (below) is included to show the newly emerged butterfly curling and uncurling its proboscis repeatedly (at 1:47 onwards), obviously testing it.

YC Wee
December 2015

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