Baby blue morpho larvae

Last I left you, we had morpho eggs…that’s turned into a LOT these past couple of weeks.  Over 800 of them!  Those butterflies have been keeping busy, if you know what I mean!  So above is one of the little kids with a neat haircut and striped candy cane looking body.   This guy is itsy bitsy!  I have to scoop them up with a paintbrush and transfer them to a box with leaves in it and let them grow for a few days.  It takes quite a while to do when you have about 45-50 hatching per day.  Here’s a video I did on one of the babies emerging from its egg:

They grow almost right before your eyes each time I look at them!  These were from a couple of days later:

We moved them outside onto the host plant growing on the side of the house and put a big net around them to keep them safe.  Today, when I went to go add more to one of the bags, I noticed this one with a big red fluffy head and little tufts of hair appearing on its back.  How cute!!!

They apparently take 11 weeks to feed before turning into a pupae.  Hope we have enough plants!

Another species we have a lot of lately are battus polydamas.  These I find very interesting because unlike the other caterpillars, these guys don’t fight with each other.  They actually like to hang out all the time and stay very close together as they grow.  They turn into gold rim swallowtail butterflies.  Their eggs are laid in bunches, which is also unlike others I’ve seen where eggs are laid apart from one another.  I guess this is why they like to stick together.

Battus polydamas eggs and larvae

In this photo, the eggs are yellow and those little brown things are the larvae.  Notice how the two are hanging out together by the dime then further to the left, you see seven or eight hanging out also.  You can click on the photo to enlarge it. These guys kind of creep us out because honestly, they’re not that attractive.  When they get big and we pick them up to get them to a new plant, they’re soft and squishy and they stick onto you pretty good.  As Woody Allen would say, ‘It’s like something you’d find in a live bait shop’.

Battus brothers and sisters

Speaking of not being attractive, this is a newly formed pupae that looks like another piece of bait.  I call them the shrimpy guys.

At this stage, I wait for them to ‘cure’ a bit.  They turn darker and get a really neat gold/green metallic stripe on part of it.  Using a dental tool, I carefully peel up the silk that is attached to the top of it, then hot glue that part to a piece of cardboard to let hang in its box until it emerges.

Butterfly Haven Panama will be open to the public this Thursday, February 13, 2014!  Hopefully things go smoothly and we get a lot of great responses from visitors!

Now, on to some comic relief from the local grocery store.  We were literally laughing out loud in the aisle today after seeing this on the shelf:

A whole row of insane prices followed like this Sushi rice:

I can’t imagine anyone would pay that much for these things.  So that led to me, once again, pointing out how much things cost.  Typically, Panama is WAY cheaper than Costa Rica in terms of grocery items, but some things will never change:

Frosted Flakes
52 processed cheese slices
Imported cream
No more than 6 or 7 slices inside

Hey, I’m just happy to have a really nice cheese selection here.  It’s not super cheap, but it’s affordable enough.

Here’s a nice sunset view from the hills of El Valle.

Sunset in El Valle de Anton, Panama

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