Love Me or Loathe Me

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Here’s to all of my friends and family in the upper 48…I know you’re cold.  I know you’re miserable and I’m sorry.  January is a cruel month for most everyone up there.  But down here, I got to go to the beach and get a tan!  It was my first trip to a Panamanian beach!  There were about 20 people there so of course I felt crowded.  I stuck around the water, found some weird giant sand fleas, got stung or bitten by something in the water a few times and saw some giant silvery thing near the beach in the water come out and disappear.  This is the Pacific side and although the water was nice, it wasn’t that bathtub clear kind of water…but hey, I’ll still take it.   Here are some photos:

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On the way back, we had to run errands and stopped at this furniture place along the side of the road.  I commented on how disturbing it was that people cross highways all of the time.  Speed limits are just suggestions it seems so when it’s 100 km/h, people can be doing 60, 40, 200…whatever.  I just know one of these days I’ll see someone get hit.  

Every mother's nightmare
Every mother’s nightmare

So I’m waiting in the truck and a little girl on a bike and her grandfather were walking along the side of the road near me.  The speed limit here is 100 (62 mph) and semi’s, trucks, cars are whizzing right by her as she just stands there alone with her bike.  I’m going crazy in my head wondering where her mom is…not that she’d care…it’s just a way of life here.  Chickens were picking at the gravel dangerously close to the road too and you see people just walking with bags of stuff like it ain’t no thang.  Sigh….

Ok, well on to the butterflies.  The other day I was looking for some larvae (caterpillars) in the flight house and noticed this yellow one that was munching on the yellow flowers.  It blended in so well you can barely tell it’s a critter!  P1030762

Then we have some passion flower vines out back and I noticed the tiny passion flowers on them.  They aren’t the ‘normal’ huge kind that you can put in the palm of your hand.  They’re petite, dainty little flowers that tiny bees like to pollenate.  They make these little fruits (yet to determine if I can do anything with them) but it’s a host plant for some of our larvae.

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I don’t recall if I mentioned how I’m taking care of some crippled butterflies.  The first shipment we got wasn’t packaged properly and that messed up quite a few butterflies.  A morpho had one of its top wings fall off so it couldn’t fly.  I feed it and make sure it’s ok and have been bringing it in at night with me in its box.  If I find other butterflies that can’t eat or fend for themselves, I put them in there too and make sure they’re as happy as I can make them.

My crippled morpho
My crippled morpho

Here are some other pictures of the Caligo’s munching on their fruit and a green malachite butterfly which is one of my favorites!

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Get the feeling you’re being watched?

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We got a new batch of pupae (chrysalis) in yesterday so we hot glued them to cardboard and hung them in the boxes.  Some were neat…completely blingy gold, looking like Christmas ornaments while others look like dried shrimp.  Some looked like a moldy branch and others were dainty little green spinner tops.  Two even had these jokerfaces on them which were strange.

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OH!  And finally I wanted to show you just how tiny the larvae are when they emerge from their eggs.  Remember I showed you the little yellow egg at the end of the tendril last time?  We collect those and wait for them to hatch.  Out comes a teeeeeeny tiny caterpillar that you can barely see.  This photo was taken through a magnifying glass.  You can see the two tiny ‘pillars on the lower left if you click on the picture to enlarge it.  Amazing!

Newborn Larvae
Newborn Larvae
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3 thoughts on “Love Me or Loathe Me

  1. Andrea January 24, 2014 / 7:33 am

    Very cool! We are going to start calling you the Butterfly Lady!

  2. Alex De La Garza January 25, 2014 / 4:11 pm

    Did you find out what the large silvery thing was that came out of the water? Very strange!

    • StephieD January 25, 2014 / 4:46 pm

      Nope, never saw it again. Looked to be about 3-4 feet long though.

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