Pupae in various colour forms
The following series of photographs illustrate the pupation of Cyprotides cyprotus.
It takes about 4 days for the pupation to be completed.
The pupation methodology is also typical of other Lycaenid butterflies, except the final shape of the pupa will vary.
Photo 1 and 2 show the larva at the beginning of pupation. It first finds a
suitable place to pupate and then silks a surface area slightly larger than itself.
It then settles down in the middle of the silked area and rests for a while (Photo 3) before creating a girdle through which it slips through to enter the prepupa stage.
Photo 4 shows the larva (now prepupa) just after it has slipped through its girdle.
During days 2 and 3 of the prepupa stage, the pupa part starts to develop within
the old outer larval skin, and it slowly contracts into an elongated rounded mass.
Photo 5 and 6 are of the early stages of this development.
Photo 7 and 8 show a later stage of prepupal development. The turquoise colour of the tubercles are now particularly noticeable against the white background of the body colour, giving the prepupa the appearance of an ancient Egyptian scarab fashioned from Venetian glass. Over time, the turquoise colour gradually fades (Photo 9) and the tubercles slowly shrink and become shapeless, and the outer larval skin becomes transparent.
Photo 10 shows a few hours before pupation, where the prepupa has lost all of
its previous larval shape.
Eventually at Photo 11 (0 minutes) the prepupa, now almost completely white, splits the outer skin near its head, and with pulsating movements by the pupa the skin is quickly forced to the posterior end (right hand side), Photo 12 (after 15 minutes).
Photo 13 (after 30 minutes), the pupa completely discards the skin
(removed here for clarity) and attaches its rear end firmly to the silken area by
the cremaster (a series of hooked bristles at the rear end beneath).
The pupa then starts to develop its final appearance, in this case the posterior and lateral edges of the abdomen and the anterior end of the head are gradually flattened, the dorsal protuberances are gradually forced into shape, and the surface acquires a rough appearance. Photo 14 and 15 are after 36 minutes.
In Photo 16 (after 110 minutes) the pupa is nearing its final shape. In Photo 17 (after 145 minutes) it has acquired its final shape but is still soft and has not developed camouflage colours. It takes another day for the pupa to fully acquire its final colour. Photo 18 shows the pupa two days after pupation.
All photography by R. Grund unless stated otherwise.