PORT Douglas resident Cathy Nutt’s sharp- eyed lens last week captured the moment when two red lacewing butterflies ( Cethosia cydippe) hatched at the same time on the same leaf.
Mrs Nutt was the creator of the Port Douglas State School Butterfly Friendly Garden some years ago and this is where this photo was taken.
‘‘At the top of the first pupa (chrysalis) you can see the head of the caterpillar left over from it pupating into a butterfly remaining there as the butterfly has emerged,’’ she said.
‘‘ The chances of taking photo are slim. A lot of the pupa just don’t hatch and some butterflies emerge malformed.’’
The red lacewing butterfly laid its eggs on the specially planted Adenia heterophylla vine and a huge congregation of black hairy caterpillars with yellow stripes hatched out.
‘‘After eating all the leaves of this large vine the caterpillars formed their dark brown pupa which had glittering gold markings on them,’’ she said.
‘‘ One week later the red lacewing butterflies appeared and I was lucky enough to capture this photo which happened right outside the administration building entrance for all the staff and students to see.
‘‘ There were many red lacewing butterflies for all to enjoy in the school’s butterfly friendly garden and still is today.’’
The school butterfly friendly garden is now in its sixth year. The red lacewing butterfly is one of eight species of tropical butterflies which have hatched out in the school garden.
Butterflies are apparently ancestral and do return to the same garden to lay eggs. Every plant in the garden has a purpose in attracting the butterflies and moths.
‘‘Raising butterflies is one of the most effective, hands-on ways for adults and children to learn about entomology, urban conservation and the joy of gardening,’’ Mrs Nutt said.
She invites those in the community who would like to help maintain the Port Douglas State School Butterfly Friendly Garden and learn all about how it happens to please contact her on 4099 3356.
the red lacewing butterflies