Thursday, June 28, 2007

Passionflower vine

Amber globules on a passionflower bud and leaf

There is always a lot of activity on my passionflower vine, what with the bees, caterpillars, spiders, and butterflies. But I have no idea what these globules are. Since it is amber-colored, I have a feeling it has something to do with the Gulf Fritillaries, but I'm not sure. Anyone have ideas? Could it be butterfly pee?! ha

Update: Well, I'll be! It's not butterfly pee, but I'm not too far off. A Google search of "Gulf Fritillary life cycle" revealed that the liquid is called meconium, expelled soon after a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. As one site describes it, "Don't be alarmed if you see a red liquid which looks like blood coming from the tail end of the butterfly. This is called meconium. It’s the left-over color and unneeded tissues from the butterfly’s wing formation." Aha! And that is why it is amber. I learned something new today. :)

(Credits: this picture gave me the name of the stuff, and this text explained it.)

Here are a few more pictures to give you an idea of all the goings-on there. The vine, the blooms, the fruit, Gulf Fritillary egg, Gulf Fritillary caterpillar, Gulf Fritillary butterfly:

It's a little world of wonder in there!


Rima said...

How fascinating! Meconium is also the term used for human infants' first poop out of the womb.
Amazing pictures, never seen anything like it. Wow.

Bobbie said...

Wow and double wow! How amazing. Thanks for showing us something that was there for ages but we just now discovered it through your blog.

Frances said...

What great pictures, Debi - so interesting and informative and beautiful to look at.
Fascinating about meconium - but insects have it right, Mama doesn't have to clean it all up, eh? And more butterflies. How summery everyone is - I am waiting for our daytime moths - now I have a camera, but haven't seen any yet.

Neda said...

Isn't it fascinating how all life forms share an incredible beauty of being. Thank you for bringing us closer to the wonders of our beautiful universe and reminding us of the precious quality of every minute organism.

I received your lovely email and I will respond soon (dial-up here is such a nuisance). I have a lot to share with you :)

Audrey said...

Wow, Those are very lovely. Looks like the vine is loving the wet spring/summer you guys have been having.

Hannah's Mom said...

Oh my!!! Those are absolutely beautiful!! Think they will grow here in AZ? :) Awesome photos, they captured it all!

Debi Cates said...

Thanks, Windy. They are hardier than you think. Unless you have terribly long spells of below freezing days in winter, you should be able to grow them there.

I planted this vine in 2001. Usually it is evergreen (not pretty, but still evergreen). Winter before last all the leaves turned brown and I was sure it had died and was heart-broken. But come Spring, it came back from the roots and has been growing and expanding once again.

You could ask your county extension agent, or a local nursery if it would grow there. If it will, I would highly recommend it! The blooms are show-stoppers.