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Photo#34738
Mating with chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - male - female

Mating with chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - Male Female
Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, USA
October 15, 2005
Quite possibly the strangest thing I've ever seen. Two butterflies with their abdomens inserted into a chrysalis. I have to assume it's two males on a female. I have heard of males attempting to mate with a female pre-emergence. But both of these were very firmly attached - how could either/both of them possibly be in the right place?

Images of this individual: tag all
Mating with chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - male - female Mating with chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - male - female Mating with chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - male - female The empty chrysalis - Heliconius charithonia - female

I just posted the last in this series
- an empty chrysalis showing that the female did at least emerge - don't know what shape she was in!


 
Quite a show!
I'm trying to think how to apply this lesson in my life! ;-)

Empty or occupied?
Did you check the chysalis to see if there was anybody home? If it was empty, could one of males have just emerged from it? Could a female have emerged, leaving some of her pheromones behind for the males to get turned onto?

Crazy!
Do you have any sources where I could read about this?

 
Haven't found any written descriptions of this behavior yet,
but I did find in Scott (1) that "female pupae of many Heliconiini attract males for subsequent mating, apparently by using a scent from the upper scent gland" (p.59). See also Remarks on the info page - Mike has similar info from another source.

Definitely an occupied chrysalis. I seriously doubt whether she could survive two such deep wounds, but I will check tomorrow to see if anything is alive in there.

More on this subject - also from Scott (p.341):
"The male is attracted to female, but not male pupae...A male lands on the female pupa, turns, and hangs downward. Up to three males are present, and when the female is about to emerge a male breaks through the pupal shell with his abdomen and mates with her before she has emerged." In this case, two males broke through the shell, I guess.

 
Just saw this
very cool sequence of photos, and the details about the behavior (because of recent post of chrysalis photo).

Nice work! Intriguing, informative set of shots and posts.

Thank you!

jc

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