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14 September 2010

Queen Pupa

Another great day in the backyard, where a Yellow Warbler and Black Phoebe came to visit, a Giant Swallowtail fluttered through, and one of my Queen larvae entered its chrysalis (aka pupa) stage.  I quick inspection at dusk didn't turn up any other larvae or pupa, but it was quickly getting dark, so they could easily be overlooked.

Queen Butterfly Pupa
Queen Butterfly Pupa
I suppose this post could be considered part 3 of a Queen Butterfly series, with part 1 showing an adult and part 2 the caterpillar/larvae.

One interesting feature of both Monarch and Queen butterfly pupa is the gold stripes and spots, evident in both photos here.  As far as I've been able to research, there are no clear conclusions as to why these gold spots exist.  The color is not a pigment, but rather iridescence.  One study I found reference to believes that these spots somehow tie to scale production and coloration of the butterfly.  If anyone has better information please post a comment!
Queen Butterfly Pupa - close-up of gold iridescence

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