One was a small male, the other a large female. Each had a little story.
The male had been a caterpillar I found on a scraggy swan plant on the side of the road in our street. There were only a few edible leaves left on the plant and I could not see any other swan plants nearby. Clearly this caterpillar might have died from lack of food before growing large enough to form its chrysalis. I took it home where it dined on lush swan plant leaves that I was able to present it with from our garden. Although it grew to be quite large, the caterpillar created a really small chrysalis. It emerged as a perfect, yet small butterfly, 13 days later.
The female had been in a chrysalis that I found at Hobsonville Marina, Auckland, last week when we were there. I spotted a cluster of swan plants across the compound and, upon closer inspection, saw three fat caterpillars and the chrysalis. The problem was that the plants were in a direct and strong wind funnelling between buildings, that was blowing them around a lot. The caterpillars seemed strong, but the chrysalis was hanging from a swan by a single silken thread and was swinging wide in the wind. I could imagine how the emerging butterfly might be blown down from the chrysalis, as it slid out, only to have its wings damaged and perhaps not able to fly.
I wrapped the chrysalis gently in tissue, that we had in our car, and transported it home with us - a four hour journey. I hot melt glued the cremaster (the little black tip on the top of the chrysalis) to the end of a toothpick and poked the toothpick into my florists foam block with the other chrysalis's. There it hung until its emergence 3 days later.
A perfect female - just lovely.