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Can you guess the species of this pupa?

The other night in the kitchen as we were cleaning up after dinner, I came across a small green caterpillar on the counter. It must have come from some of our produce. I immediately wanted to photograph it and get it under the scope. But also, it was late, I had just washed a bunch of dishes and I was feeling lazy so I put it in a mason jar with the intention of dealing with it the next day.

When I picked up the jar the next morning I didn’t see the small green caterpillar. I thought maybe it had escaped. Or maybe the little rascal had pupated!  I opened the lid and my suspicions were confirmed. A beautiful little green chrysalis was attached to the lid.


Let’s get oriented. Below you can see that this pupae is upside down on the lid. It created a sling out of silk in order to stabilize and attach itself to the lid. That’s the dorsal side (back) of the thorax and the wings will form wrapped around the front of the body.


The main point of attachment is at the rear of the insect. It is called the cremaster. It’s a little bundle of hooks coming off of the abdomen.


Movie back up the body, we can clearly see the abdominal spiracles, the little black dots on the sides! These are like insect nostrils.


The dorsal side of the pupa has some really beautiful coloration and microstructure. As it matures, the colors will change. I will make sure I take pics to update its progress!



Can you guess what kind of butterfly is going to emerge from this chrysalis? Leave your guess in the comments!

Join the discussion

  1. colleen

    Cabbage white?

  2. Daniel

    Some kind of swallowtail, it looks like.

  3. Ron Roscioli

    Where did the produce come from?

  4. thebugchicks

    It was found on some kale!

  5. thebugchicks

    It’s Colleen with the WIN!!!!

  6. thebugchicks

    Judging by people guessing swallowtails, we should do a little photo comparison! It’s a cabbage white butterfly!

  7. caitlin droegemueller

    of course i had one that looked like that it is a tobacco worm aka tomato worm ether way♣♥☺☻♠○◘•♥♥

  8. bundschu-mooney

    one possible answer….from California
    common name: imported cabbageworm
    scientific name: Pieris rapae (Linnaeus) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Pieridae)
    I had to look up the scientific name…But I have raised these little buggers in my school garden every year and not on purpose. You plant broccoli and here they come. What an investigation for my students. The great news is that I had a very challenging class with many challenging boys…sound familiar. One day I held 6 of these boys who needed some intervention in class to have a conversation. I brought the collection box where the cabbage worms were. These worms like to go to the lid and hang out. When I opened the lid we literally watched the worm form the spikes on its back and go into its chrysalis…The transformation of the boys attitude was astounding. Almost as astounding as the transformation of the cabbage worm….What an opportunity to bring the life cycle of a moth to the table to begin the conversation……Glad to have found The Bug Chicks

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