Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

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erotavlas
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Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by erotavlas »

I found one of the last eastern black swallowtail eggs of the season back in early September and decided to do a photo/video project to document the life stages. It is kept in a solarium so it has exposure to the normal day/night cycle. Temperatures in the room are not too warm by the window probably below 20 C, I don't have the heat on. Outside it is of course much colder, below 10 C at night, but in the day it is high teens up to 20 C.

It is currently in chrysalis form and I don't know if it's going to eclose now or it is in diapause. It formed the chrysalis on September 19 and so today it is 15 days since. I would like to know if I should put it outside and resume the project in the spring, or wait a few more days for it to eclose.

What makes this difficult to determine is that it's colour is contrary to all the information I found on various sites. For one it is said that the chrysalis will take on the colour that matches the substrate. So brown substrate = brown chrysalis. Same with green. However mine is the opposite green chrysalis on brown substrate.

Furthermore I found this site which claims that "ALL diapausing chrysalises in this species will turn brown no matter what their substrate color." I do not know if this is true or not.

So my question Is it possible that not ALL diapausing chrysalises turn brown and some remain green?
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by Chuck »

With nature, anything is possible.

Stay away from using absolutes, or sources that do. "always/never/all/none" is invariably bound to be discredited; it doesn't matter if you're talking about butterfly pupae or Corvette production options.

Of the thousands of Actias luna I raised, about 5% of pupae would refuse to emerge the following summer, and continue on through a second winter. One of our Canadian members experienced 2 winter dipause with Papilio.

I would not expect yours at 20C to emerge immediately, though it may emerge very early (December? March?). If you simply put it outside it will probably be eaten. I typically put pupae in tupperware with holes to allow some airflow and stick them in the garage; others put them in the refrigerator with good success.

Note too, the link you provided as reference to the pupae color is discussing the west coast Papilio zelicaon, not your Papilio polyxenes.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by bobw »

I don't know if P. polyxenes is the same, but with the closely related European P. machaon, the colour is pretty random. Both brown and green pupae will overwinter or some may emerge, the main deciding factors are temperature and daylength.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by adamcotton »

bobw wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 3:21 pm I don't know if P. polyxenes is the same, but with the closely related European P. machaon, the colour is pretty random. Both brown and green pupae will overwinter or some may emerge, the main deciding factors are temperature and daylength.
I agree with Bob. In the machaon group daylength is very important, probably more than temperature if you are talking about ~20C rather than ~30C. If the daylength is shortening during 4th to 5th instar diapause will be triggered.

I recommend you keep the pupa in the solarium for a few weeks, just in case it has not gone into diapause. If it has not emerged by the time you need to put on the heating you should put it in a sealed plastic box (no air holes!) and put that in the veggie compartment in the fridge. Cut the twig it is pupating on just above and below the pupa, and then in spring you can attach the twig to the inside of a cage for it to emerge. You can take the pupa out of the fridge in spring and it should emerge about two weeks later.

Do let us know what happens.

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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by kevinkk »

my experiences with Papilio polyxenes, trolius and I think Eurytides marcellus, all will produce either green or brown pupa, the color making no difference in anything at all.
I'd agree that day length is more of a factor with what caterpillars do when they mature. While temperatures are going to
have an effect, it's day length, animals tell time that way. That way, they don't get off track by a few weeks of warm weather in the winter or
fall.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by eurytides »

Pupal color will not correlate with diapause with this species. Hold a strong light, like from a phone camera, to the head of the pupa and transilluminate. If you don’t see dark areas where the eyes are going to form after 15 days, it’s going to diapause.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by erotavlas »

eurytides wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:42 pm Pupal color will not correlate with diapause with this species. Hold a strong light, like from a phone camera, to the head of the pupa and transilluminate. If you don’t see dark areas where the eyes are going to form after 15 days, it’s going to diapause.
I'm not sure which end the eyes are, but this was the best I could do. The top part was pretty opaque so I didn't bother trying to get closer with the flashlight in that area.

To me it looks very translucent in the middle and also at the very end
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by Paul K »

erotavlas wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 10:53 pm
eurytides wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:42 pm Pupal color will not correlate with diapause with this species. Hold a strong light, like from a phone camera, to the head of the pupa and transilluminate. If you don’t see dark areas where the eyes are going to form after 15 days, it’s going to diapause.
I'm not sure which end the eyes are, but this was the best I could do. The top part was pretty opaque so I didn't bother trying to get closer with the flashlight in that area.

To me it looks very translucent in the middle and also at the very end
The head is always at the opposite end to where pupa is attached to something, it is applied only to pupa of butterflies as moth’s larvae are not attaching them self like butterflies
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by eurytides »

erotavlas wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 10:53 pm
eurytides wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:42 pm Pupal color will not correlate with diapause with this species. Hold a strong light, like from a phone camera, to the head of the pupa and transilluminate. If you don’t see dark areas where the eyes are going to form after 15 days, it’s going to diapause.
I'm not sure which end the eyes are, but this was the best I could do. The top part was pretty opaque so I didn't bother trying to get closer with the flashlight in that area.

To me it looks very translucent in the middle and also at the very end
The light is shining through the wings. The eyes will form at the top of the pupa.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/phys.org/ne ... ysalis.amp
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by Chuck »

Impact of environment- temperature, daylight, etc discussed in this paper. Below is an excerpt.

The role of latitudinal, genetic and temperature variation
in the induction of diapause of Papilio glaucus (Lepidoptera:
Papilionidae)
Sean F. Ryan1,2, Patti Valella3,4, Gabrielle Thivierge1, Matthew L. Aardema3,5 and J. Mark Scriber3,6
1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; 2USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural,
and Veterinary Entomology, 1600/1700 Southwest 23rd Drive, Gainesville, Florida, USA; 3Department of Entomology, Michigan State
University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; 4Life Science Department, Long Beach City College, Long Beach, California, USA; 5Sackler
Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, USA and 6McGuire Center for Lepidoptera
and Diversity, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
Abstract A key adaptation in insects for dealing with variable environmental conditions is
the ability to diapause. The tiger swallowtail butterflies, Papilio glaucus and P. canadensis
are ideal species to explore the genetic causes and population genetic consequences of
diapause because divergence in this trait is believed to be a salient factor in maintaining
a hybrid zone between these species. Yet little is known about the factors that influence
diapause induction in this system. Here we explored how spatial (latitudinal), environmental
(temperature) and genetic (hybridization) factors affect diapause induction in this system.
Specifically, a series of growth chamber experiments using wild caught individuals from
across the eastern United States were performed to: (1) evaluate how critical photoperiod
varies with latitude, (2) isolate the stage in which induction occurs, (3) test whether changes
in temperature affected rates of diapause induction, and (4) explore how the incidence of
diapause is affected in hybrid offspring. We find that induction occurs in the larval stage, is
not sensitive to a relatively broad range of temperatures, appears to have a complex genetic
basis (i.e., is not simply a dominant trait following a Mendelian inheritance pattern) and
that the critical photoperiod increases by 0.4 h with each increasing degree in latitude.
This work deepens our understanding of how spatial, environmental and genetic variation
influences a key seasonal adaptation (diapause induction) in a well-developed ecological
model system and will make possible future studies that explore how climatic variation
affects the population dynamics and genetics of this system.
Key words adaptation; critical photoperiod; development; diapauses; facultative;
hybridization
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by erotavlas »

I guess I have my answer, it's not diapausing. Keeps getting darker and can already see wing color through the chrysalis. It's going to enclose soon either tonight or in the morning.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by Chuck »

Get photos!
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by erotavlas »

Regarding the color issue I was thinking further about it and if it is true that only brown chrysalis diapause then it would make sense because by the time winter comes it would be easier to camouflage one self due to the lack of green foliage. It would be better to be brown to stay hidden. One might argue that there is still green foliage in the form of coniferous trees but I don't think the foliage part would be a suitable substrate for the chrysalis. It would more likely be on something like the branch which is brown. Anyway that would be my reasoning for diapausing only in the color brown if I were a Papilio.
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by erotavlas »

So here are the photos of the adult. It emerged this morning around 7:40AM. I waited about 3 hours after, then tried taking it outside, but its really cold right now - today it was 9 C. It didn't want to open its wings and was actually having trouble grasping the branch. So I brought it back in and placed it inside a mesh enclosure I made. Then covered around it with some dark cloths to block the light and it seems to be sleeping upside down on the roof of the enclosure. I'll see how the weather goes tomorrow. However I don't see this having a very full life, it is the middle of autumn, not many flowers around, and definitely no other butterflies except the odd cabbage white. I think its going to be 15 C and above for another week, then goes back down 10 C. When I found the egg it was Sept 2 and at the time I didn't realize how long this whole process would take.


This is what it looked like right before eclosing.
Chrysalis right before eclosing
Chrysalis right before eclosing
65A01214.jpg (298.16 KiB) Viewed 120 times

This is it emerging from chrysalis.
After wings fully expanded
After wings fully expanded
vlcsnap-2022-10-07-16h38m13s008-DeNoiseAI-severe-noise.jpg (173.6 KiB) Viewed 120 times

Here it is after the wings fully expanded. Notice there is a drop of fluid at the rear. It actually ejected a lot of this fluid (like other butterflies do) I just don't know what it is, is it waste product, or is it fluid that was used to fill the wings and if left over/ not needed anymore?
Emerging from chrysalis
Emerging from chrysalis
65A01219.jpg (515.11 KiB) Viewed 120 times
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Re: Is it possible for a green colored chrysalis of Papilio polyxenes to diapause?

Post by Trehopr1 »

The fluid ejected from the abdomen of any butterfly or moth after emergence is called Meconium. It is the liquefied waste products of the butterfly/moths metamorphosis.

Wonderful pictures !
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