Art. XVIII.—Notes on a peculiar Chrysalis of an unknown Species of Butterfly.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 8th October, 1888.]
In the summer of 1887 (February), while botanising in the secluded forests and glens south of Dannevirke, I came upon a curious living chrysalis of a form hitherto unnoticed by me. It was attached to a branch of a species of Galium,* a large
[Footnote] * Galium triloba, Col., sp. nov., “Trans. N.Z. Institute,” vol. xx., p. 192. (I have since detected this curious species growing profusely prostrate in large beds.)
prostrate plant, and, believing it to be new, I carefully secured it and brought it to Napier. As I expected it would shortly emerge in its imago state, I took accurate notes of this chrysalis in its fresh and living state, also a drawing of it, which I now give. I failed, however, in seeing the perfect insect, as the chrysalis never developed, but lost its original colours and decayed. I suppose it must have received some bruising in carriage, &c., although I took every possible care, having also formerly reared perfect insects of Pyrameis gonerilla, Danais berenice, Dasypoda selenophora, and others. It may be, however, only the pupa state of one of our known New Zealand butterflies, and also known to our colonial lepidopterists, who will in that case immediately recognise it from my description. It was certainly both very peculiar in shape and richly adorned in colours.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
1. Side view. 2. Front view. Chrysalis 10/12 inch long; slightly enlarged.
Description.—Chrysalis: Suspended by a stout web from its tail (none around the body), oblong (outline form), 10 lines long, 4 lines broad; somewhat sub-angular and rough, with many small muricate projections; colour olivaceous, smooth yet finely corrugated, glossy, with minute short wavy transverse black veins; the thorax and head having a semi-metallic glistening appearance, as if finely powdered with gold dust, with 6–8 large and more defined bright gold-like round spots on underside of thorax and head. Head broad, truncate and retuse almost bifid, acutely 2-horned at outer angles; sternum largely produced and very acute; tail produced, tip blackish, ½ line long, curved with a stout silken band 3 lines long; back flattish, with 4 small sharp points (2 pairs) near the centre and 2 larger on each side (edge of wings) nearly in the same lateral line, and 1 smaller on edge near fourth abdominal ring, and 5 blackish spiracle-like slits in a curved line from fourth abdominal ring to tip of tail; several fine longitudinal black lines running from each side of horn to the fifth and largest ring of abdomen, the outer pair of lines regularly studded their whole length with minute raised points; 3 large posterior black rings and 4 sub-obsolete anterior ones on abdomen underside; 8 pairs of acute points (feet) in 2 longitudinal lines, with 6 smaller central ones in a longitudinal line on abdominal rings; and a shining blackish disc with raised margin in centre of thorax under sternum.
Obs. This chrysalis somewhat resembles in form that of Vanessa io. Viewed in front its prominent sternum, &c., bears a likeness of the human face in ludicrous miniature. I
have ventured to classify it under the family of Nymphalidæ, from the fact of its only suspending itself by its tail. I am aware that the sub-family of Libythæinæ (Fam. Erycinidæ) does the same, but hitherto (as far as I know) none of this sub-family has been found in New Zealand.
Should any of our colonial lepidopterists, who may see this notice, be already acquainted with this form of pupa, and also with its perfect insect, I will thank him to inform me of it.