This morning, my cat Amelie helped us to notice (what we guess) was a Mourning Cloak butterfly larva that had hung itself upside down from one of our window panes. Another was hanging nearby on the stuccoed adobe wall. Nifty, I thought. I'll take a pic and see if I can capture it at various stages as it encases itself in its chrysalis.
Several hours later, and thanks again to eagle-eyed Amelie, I watched from inside as the caterpillar thrashed about wildly while the section with its head and six small legs fell off! It then rapidly split its skin from the bottom up. This new skin was wet and red. It slowly dried and became hard. Incredible! Here's what I was able to catch with the camera once I got outside.
Here's the head.
And the new, wet skin. You can still see the red on the top, but the bottom has already begun to harden.
Almost done hardening.
After this, I had high hopes that I could witness and document this for caterpillar number two, hanging on the adobe wall. Here's my bug watching camp - a knitting project and the camera.
But that bugger wasn't going to appease my voyeurism before sundown. He'll probably be nice and pupa-fied tomorrow morning. And I did have a nice time knitting. Wait until I share this with my students on Monday!