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This green caterpillar (first shot) is almost ready to pupate. In the second shot it is a pre-pupa. Pupa formed on 18 March 2021. I read this stage will last 8 days (if all goes well). Everything was progressing OK...the pupa became papery and I could see the white spots on the black wings inside. It split on time but the butterfly did not emerge. Today 28 March 2021, i see there are ants on it. R.I.P. my much-awaited butterfly.
A few years ago, I had brought home some Kinnoo fruit ( citrus hybrid like a rather flattened orange). My maid had never seen one and after eating it, she planted a seed in a neglected part of the garden near the boundary wall. She has green fingers. The seed is now a shrub with really long thorns (Good luck to thieves jumping over the wall!). I often find it festooned with papery, ghostly white butterfly cocoons with neat slits on the side...evidence of successful emergence of adults! I have seen Lime butterflies metamorphose on my boundary wall. Yesterday, a Common Mormon butterfly fell out (and into the drain...fished out covered with sludge...but that is another story altogether) as the cleaner brushed past the shrub. It was a jolt to realize that I had not looked for caterpillars here for almost all of 2020. After almost a year I looked closely...straight into the ' eyes' of a 5th instar caterpillar. Backyards are wonderful!. Later that day it had assumed a vertical position and then, next day it was like a sort of hook shape and the posterior segments were contracting...it was a pre-pupa.You can see the photos. I went to look for the pupa the next day and could not see it...I knew it "had" to be there...and kept searching...finally I saw it an inch from my nose looking just like a baby leaf...matching the green shade perfectly. Apparently had it pupated on the trunk of a tree it would have been brown! The lovely shade of green like a newly emerged leaf has lightened over these couple of days...as if the pretend-leaf is drying!
I hope to keep an eye on its development and post photos. The caterpillars of Common Mormon and the Lime butterfly look very similar.
Spotted on Mar 16, 2021
Submitted on Mar 17, 2021