Lemon? Or leaf? Or…?

I was walking around the lemon tree, which has several generations of fruit on it at present, trying to decide which might be the oldest and best to pick.

Then I caught a glimpse of something not quite right hanging there.
It was green and nobbly textured like the young fruit, but shaped more like the leaves and with small paler dots on it like them.

But a closer look from several angles showed it was neither deformed fruit nor leaf.
It was a beautifully camouflaged nursery case, a pupa, for some sort of moth or butterfly.

No wonder I find nature a constant source of wonder!

11 thoughts on “Lemon? Or leaf? Or…?”

  1. Hi Gillian,
    My excellent webmaster never misses a comment! Thanks for writing – and for reading my book. Your blog is lovely, with some great bird and flower pics. A well-observed garden is so rich in nature. Thank you for doing it. Have bookmarked your blog.

  2. Hi there,
    I was searching for images of orchard shallowtail chrysalis and came across this post! I read your book (and loved it!) Not sure if you will get this comment since it is an old posting, but pleased to find you out here!
    my blog is http://www.africanaussie.blogspot.com and I have been posting a few photos of these if you are interested. Hoping to get one emerging.

  3. Hi Tony,
    A great story! Thanks for telling me (and all the readers), as I didn’t get to see mine emerge. Love the name.

  4. I have been bringing up an Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar on calamondin leaves provided fresh each day. He is in a sealed lunchbox, with three airholes drilled in the top with a screwdriver. – He came from a Mandarin tree whose owner did not want caterpillars. – The chrysallis started to turn black and at about 6.00pm today [1st may 2010]. Lord Runcible emerged. And he is male.

  5. What an extraordinary find!! I do hope you will be able to watch as it develops and report back to us. It certainly has an unusual look and such design. The only ones I have seen are a brown color and not nearly so exquisite!! Keep a close watch on it.

  6. Thanks for those details Trevor. No, there is only one on the lemon and none on any other citrus. Perhaps this is because only that lemon had green fruit at the time so the camouflage would not be so successful on the other trees?
    I’m keen to see developments!

  7. Hi Sharyn,
    The Orchard Swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly. Keep your eye on it because the sexes look quite distinct. The male has creamy-white markings on black and is smaller than the female (3 and 1/2 inches to give away my age!)The female has orangey-red spots across the tail and averages an inch wider wing span. The larvae do indeed feed on citrus and wild lime. Have you found any more pupae?

  8. Thanks Denis. It is still the same but I will certainly watch it for progress.
    There are dozens of Wanderer butterflies out now so a new sort will be very obvious if it stays around.

  9. The casing will almost certainly produce a large black and white Orchard Butterfly. They love Citrus plants.
    Nice image.
    Keep your eye on it. Eventually it will become apparent that something is happening inside it. Then check it each morning.

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