Monday, May 5, 2014

Aye, Matey!

Photo by Ned Harris 4/30/2014

These Marine Blue butterflies are - you guessed it - mating. The female will fly off and lay eggs on host plants; for this species, Leadwort (Plumbago zeylanica) and Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina), among others. The caterpillars that hatch from these eggs will need to eat an appropriate host plant, so it's important to get it right. The caterpillars (larvae) eat and grow, then pupate; i.e., take themselves almost completely apart and re-build with wings. After emerging, they fly off to start the cycle again. That, my friends, is complete metamorphosis.

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