Our orchard and vegetable garden is host to one of the most beautiful and graceful butterflies in the world. Each year in spring and summer huge Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus) butterflies drift lazily through the garden, their seemingly random flight describing arcs and dips impossible to predict. When I see the eggs on the citrus leaves I am already excited, filled with anticipation.

The lava is coloured to resemble a bird dropping, and feeds patiently on the leaves as it grows.  Can you see how well disguised they are?

Through all its ugly youth the adult butterfly is moving towards those days of freedom and flight.

When it is about 60mm long it begins to pupate, fixing itself to a suitable stem with a fine silk cord. After a suitable period of time, from one to six months depending on the season, the adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.

This adult is a female, marked with blue, red and orange chains of coloured crescents on the hindwing. She has a wingspan of 140mm. I found her resting on a young mandarin tree this morning, perhaps preparing to lay her single egg there, before moving to another tree to lay another egg.

I could not imagine any more perfect post for the first day of the New Year; as we live our lives of constant change let us contemplate the life of this exquisite  butterfly!

24 thoughts on “Transformation

  1. When I see things like this in nature, I think of a quote, “Science has taught us that nothing can disappear without leaving a trace…Nature does not know extinction, all it knows is transformation.” To me, that has always been comforting to know…

    • That is wonderful Barb, “*Nature does not know extinction, all it knows is transformation*” and of course we are part of Nature, made from the stuff of stars! A great comfort to take with us now as we leave for the memorial service for Don …. we will be away 3 days but I hope to post something if possible …

  2. Dont you love how something beautiful can come out of a rough looking insect. That is a strong proof which shows us in every human their is a beautiful soul, we just need to learn how to let it grow

  3. What a perfect post to begin the new year. Transformation. We all go through it, and if we pay attention and accept with open arms, we open our selves to the magnificence of life. My 2012 be a year filled with gentle blessings and caring support for you and your loved ones.

  4. What a very appropriate new year’s post! New year is always a perfect way to start anew, just like a pupa transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

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