On a recent road trip I stopped in at the Coffs Harbour Butterfly house and spent a couple of hours enjoying the sights. I got to spend some time watching the butterflies emerging from their chrysalis’ – this particular Cruiser butterfly was very interesting to watch and had a nearly catastrophic start to life as a butterfly….
The initial emerging takes place over just seconds and I missed the very first few moments unfortunately. This is just after she has emerged and she pauses for a few minutes to unfurl her wet and floppy wings.
Once they are unfurled she starts to slowly and awkwardly climb up the wall to find a place to hang and let her wings dry. This drying can take up to an hour before she will fly off to begin her life as a butterfly.
Then just as she reaches the top of the wall of the box disaster strikes and she falls, plunging down to the floor of the box with a ‘plop’. Her wet wings flop to the side and make it difficult for her to move.
She slowly drags herself across the floor of the box with slow and steady progress. When she comes to the edge she climbs over and allows her wings to hang. A fall from this height would be very serious indeed but she seems to have found a secure footing. You can see that she has not emerged unscathed though…
Those two drops you can see are haemolymph – the butterfly equivalent of blood oozing from the veins on her wings.
The butterfly keeper tells me that she is likely to recover but she may not fly as well.
This was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend a stop if you’re heading past – just be prepared – it’s warm and humid in there. And a quick tip for your camera… Due to the temperature and humidity variation you will likely find your lens just keeps fogging up very quickly at first. Don’t stress, just keep it out and wait – once it’s got up to temperature you’ll find that there’ll be no fogging. This is also true for your phone but it’ll adapt much quicker.