As of yesterday, we've successfully raised and released four Anise Swallowtail Butterflies.
I cannot express the pleasure that this gives me. There's something so metaphorical about the life-cycle of these creatures. To be a tiny part of it is just thrilling.
I've realized that I can predict which butterflies are going to emerge. The green chrysalises are easy. They become more transparent, and the wing markings can be observed . The other clue that a butterfly is about to hatch has to do with the tail-end of the chrysalis. It expands a bit, in an accordion-like manner.
I can admit now that I thought all of the butterflies were dead. I read "butterflies emerge in ten days to three months" and I start to freak out after eleven days. What's strange is that it seems that the butterflies that had been in their chrysalises the shortest amount of time were among the first to emerge. Baffling.