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Fostering Plain Tigers

 A few months back, I had planted a Bloodflower(milkweed) plant in the hope of breeding Plain Tiger Butterflies. It was wonderful to watch the metamorphosis. Here are the pictures...

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The host plant is called bloodflower. The plant belongs to a group known as Milkweeds.
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Mature female plain tigers lay their eggs on these plants...
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Milkweeds secrete latex which contains chemicals called cardenolides, which are ingested by the larvae as they feed on the plant...
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The cardenolides are toxic to potential predators (but not the larvae), and can be stored till they mature...
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Cardenolides had evolved in plants as a defense against herbivores, but some herbivores, including plain tiger larvae, evolved enzymes to become able to process these cardenolides...

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After few days of heavy eating of leaves, the larvae prepare for the Pupa stage...
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It attaches itself to the wall...
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Some get attached to the ceiling.... 

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The pupal stage of the plain tiger lasts about 9 to 15 days, where the caterpillar hardens...
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As days pass, the chrysalis becomes brown and the butterfly inside becomes visible...
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I kept monitoring them so that I won't miss the adult butterfly stage. After a wait that was akin to watching paint dry, the butterflies started emerging...
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The crumpled wings..
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The wings straighten in about 5 minutes. Then it hangs there for about 3 hours.... 

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After 3-4 hours it gets ready to fly by flapping its wings...
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Male and female plain tigers look extremely similar, but males can easily be differentiated from females with the presence of an additional black-and-white spot on its hindwing.
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Adult plain tigers also ingest and store another type of toxic substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids...

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These chemicals cause plain tigers to be inedible (usually causing vomiting) to many predators, especially birds. Predators which have suffered the negative effects of eating a plain tiger subsequently learn to avoid eating the same type of butterfly because of its bright, noticeable coloration and pattern...

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This 'strategy' of using warning colours to ward off predators is also known as aposematism...



Hope you liked the post. Do post your comments below.

44 comments:

  1. What a great photo series of the butterfly, from egg and caterpillar to the hatching of the butterfly.
    I enjoyed it.
    Greetings Irma

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  2. Hello,
    A great sequence of beautiful photos. I love your host plant, the flowers are lovely. The caterpillars are cute and they turn into beautiful butterflies. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

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  3. Wonderful almost scientific account of the origin of a special species of butterfly. All great colored and good in balance.

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  4. ...these are fabulous images of things to come here. Thanks!

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  5. Hello, :=) I enjoyed seeing every photos of the the metamorphism of this beautiful butterfly from a caterpillar to the beautiful Tiger Butterfly, and also all the extra information I didn't know about. Milk weed is a good plant to have in a garden for the butterflies to lay their eggs on.

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  6. Thank you for the beautiful sequence of photos of this butterfly’s life cycle, and the chemical explanations which are usually skipped when people talk about them.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  7. We have raised Monarchs, Black Swallowtails and Giant Swallowtails indoors; always a fascinating experience, and very educational for the little girls who live next door.

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  8. What beautiful images! As always, your details are exquisite. I long for the return of butterflies here in Michigan.

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  9. Amazing clicks, Loved the post.

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  10. What a wonderful metamorphosis to watch up close! Your macro photos are amazing!

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  11. What a miracle to watch! WOW! You did great watching closely to get the photos at every stage. I am in awe!

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  12. Our Monarch butterfly is similar. Your photos and narrative is educational. It is nice to know that there is such a simailar butterfly in your part of the world. I also grow milkweed plants for the butterflies.

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  13. These are so similar to our monarch butterflies. They are amazing. They lay eggs on milkweed here, as well! So precious!

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  14. Delightful to see friend, thank you

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  15. Absolutely stunning, I love way it is coming in changing Butterfly, nice work.

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  16. Oh wow that was amazing! Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Absolutely brilliant Shiju. That was a labour of love for you and the insects.

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  18. Hello ♡
    You have a wonderful blog. Great post, it's very inspiring here and I love this style on blogs :)
    Lovely photos. Each has something in it. They all look great! :)
    I love such inspiring blogs, maybe you want to stay in touch and agree to follow for follow on our blogs?
    Regards nice and warm from Poland ♡

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  19. Stunning and amazing. Thanks for sharing, I enjoy viewing your photos.

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  20. Wow! Fascinating and gorgeous photography ~ Xo


    Wishing you love and peace in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  21. Hi Shiju, Wow, this post is like something someone would see in class at a University! Amazing the way you followed along and showed us the whole process with your excellent photography. You have mastered the camera! Great post, thanks for sharing, and thanks for your kind words on my blog. Have a fine week ahead! John

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  22. Thank you for this informative post with great photos to show the different stages from eggs to mature butterfly.

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  23. We've been working on our Garden, and I still want to plant Sweet Peas and Moss. But I would like to have a Butterfly Garden this this year, but I am not sure what I would need to plant to attract Butterflies. Look like it's time to visit a Plant Store.

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  24. This is an absolutely stunning post Shiju. Congratulations on the successful launch of your "babies" (you were very patient and you too wonderful pictures. Thank you so much -- both for raising them and for sharing the journey through your words and pictures. I'm in awe! Milkweed is the host plant that Monarch Butterflies prefer also and the butterfly park I sometimes visit has several varieties of it. The one you show is a lovely plant in addition to being such a good and important host plant!

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  25. Amazing photos! It's fascinating to see the whole development of the butterfly. The caterpillar and chrysalis are both so beautiful too.

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  26. Good post interesting too I liked all the photos :-)

    Have a plaintigertastic week 👍

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  27. What beautiful photos of the whole process! We once had a very similar caterpillar called a monarch go through this same process on our back patio. It was a wonderful homeschool science lesson and my boys and I would eagerly check on it every morning.

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  28. Wow! Just as the Monarch butterfly does over here with our native milkweed. I know that feeling of waiting for paint to peel off the walls. I experienced it when I took photos of lady bugs from pupating stage to emergence to dry out and flying away. The Plain Tiger Butterfly and caterpillar are beautiful, and you have captured a wonderful set of photos of their life stages. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

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  29. AMAZING! Thanks for sharing! Teresa from https://nanahood.com/an-outdoor-spring-tradition-thats-fun-for-the-grands

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  30. This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing this process with us.

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  31. You show the coming out of the butterfly so beautifully - wow, the colors, I love it! Emille

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  32. Oh such incredible and beautiful captures, so amazing to see!

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  33. You caught the whole cycle so vibrantly. It is magic. Your camera is magic!

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  34. It's such an exciting process!
    I've watched a dragonfly hatch before, but never watched a butterfly through the entire process from egg to caterpillar to pupa to finished insect. Great photos! Thank you for showing me!
    All the best from Austria,
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2022/03/kleine-auszeit-mit-hindernissen-in.html

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  35. Wow, such amazing photo series of all the stages of tiger butterfly. Excellent photos, thank you for sharing.

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  36. Wow, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

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  37. Wonderfully shown thank you

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  38. The bloodflower plant is beautiful in itself but your photos of the butterflies life cycle are just wonderful!

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  39. A wonderful series of photographs :)

    All the best Jan

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  40. Absolutely stunning. I love every photo, you've captured the whole process so beautifully. I feel as though I've learnt so much as well as being delighted by your pictures. Thank you so much.

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  41. Hello, dear Shiju Sugunan,
    You haven't posted your sensational photos for a long time. I hope you are healthy and otherwise everything is fine with you! Your posts are missed here, I wanted to let you know!
    All the best and have a good week,
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2022/04/grotrappen-balz-flug-zum.html

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    Replies
    1. Hello Traude,
      A minor ankle fracture has grounded me. It is taking really long to heal. Hope to get back to blogging soon. Thank you so much for dropping by. Have a good week!

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  42. Haha, I came here for the same reason as Traude did. Must be hard not to be able to make a birding trip like you are used to, but since you have a family the others maybe glad to see you home more:) Hope your ankle heals soon! Emille

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  43. Absolutely stunning. I love every print, you've captured the whole process so beautifully. I feel as though I have learnt so much as well as being delighted by your filmland. Thank you so much.
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