It was 21 May 2011 when I saw a shiny orange pupa beneath the frond (leaf) of a Giant Sword Fern (Nephrolepis biserrata). This ground fern was growing at my eye level, on an intersection between two large branches of a Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis). I decided to bring it home to observe its transformation and to figure out what butterfly it was to be.
I secured the frond on the stem of the Common Acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) at my balcony, making sure that the pupa was hanging in the right direction. The Common Acacia appears to be a very sturdy plant. I saw two seeding sprouting out from one of the pot one day and transferred them to two small pots. It survived really well despite the tiny land area.
At first, I thought that it was about to hatch the next morning, which happened to be a Sunday. By 7 am on Sunday, nothing happened. A week later on 28 May, still nothing happened. The frond that the pupa was attached on had turned dry but it still securely fasten on the Common Acacia.
The darker picture of the pupa was taken with the camera flash off.
Finally, the transformation took place the next day on 29 May and it was a Sunday. I never thought it was going to happen so soon and was not prepare for it, meaning that I did not wake up early. The hatching of a butterfly usually takes place between 6 am and 7 am in the morning. So, I have totally missed the part where I wanted to observe. Fortunately, I was there early enough to see the butterfly drying itself on the Common Acacia. It was a Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber)! This was the third pupa that hatched at my balcony. (see the first and second happenings.)
I only noticed the butterfly at 7:40 am while going
on with my routine plant watering exercise. I even watered past the Common Acacia without seeing the butterfly. The first reaction
was to rush to get my camera.
The empty shell (picture on the left) after its occupant was gone. I left the house to run some errant and by the time I was back at around 10:30 am, the butterfly had returned to where it supposed to be.
The Giant Sword Fern, where the pupa was discovered, was definitely not the host plant of the butterfly. I did a quick search on the identity of the butterfly as soon as I had the picture. It was not too difficult to track down its identity with good reference website around. As I read, the host plants of the butterfly are Ficus globosa, Ficus heteropleura, Ficus microcarpa, Nerium oleander. Indeed, there were Ficus heteropleura and Ficus microcarpa in the vicinity where I picked up the pupa.
Though I did not witness the emerging butterfly but its pupa case, I was happy to see a new life. Furthermore, I get to add a new butterfly picture to the collection of my butterfly photo gallery.
Last updated: 29 May 2011