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This little birdwing butterfly caterpillar has just shed his first skin (the little crumpled blob behind him). He may do this 5, 6, or more times. These stages are called 'instars' and are necessary because the skin doesn't grow with the caterpillar.

This little birdwing butterfly caterpillar has just shed his first skin (the little crumpled blob behind him). He may do this 5, 6, or more times. These stages are called 'instars' and are necessary because the skin doesn't grow with the caterpillar.

This little birdwing caterpillar has shed his first skin and I must have startled him because he has his orange antenna extended. They seem to lose this ability as they get bigger.

This little birdwing caterpillar has shed his first skin and I must have startled him because he has his orange antenna extended. They seem to lose this ability as they get bigger.

The birdwing butterfly egg is big for a butterfly egg.

The birdwing butterfly egg is big for a butterfly egg.

Male Cairns birdwing butterfly.

Male Cairns birdwing butterfly.

This birdwing caterpillar was resting before setting out on his search for a suitable spot to pupate into a chrysalis.

This birdwing caterpillar was resting before setting out on his search for a suitable spot to pupate into a chrysalis.

The birdwing butterfly chrysalis on day 3. Over the next 2 weeks I expect to see it change colour a little bit.

The birdwing butterfly chrysalis on day 3. Over the next 2 weeks I expect to see it change colour a little bit.

Female Cairns birdwing butterfly on a native Dutchmans pipe vine.

Female Cairns birdwing butterfly on a native Dutchmans pipe vine.

Cairns birdwing butterfly placing her single egg on the underside of a leaf.

Cairns birdwing butterfly placing her single egg on the underside of a leaf.

The birdwing chrysalis in profile.

The birdwing chrysalis in profile.

The birdwing caterpillars eat the tender young tips of the vine like they were lollies. Their spiky appearance is a bit deceiving because their spines aren't hard, but they do emit a warning odour and a poison through their orange dots. The poison comes from ingesting the poisonous vine.

The birdwing caterpillars eat the tender young tips of the vine like they were lollies. Their spiky appearance is a bit deceiving because their spines aren't hard, but they do emit a warning odour and a poison through their orange dots. The poison comes from ingesting the poisonous vine.

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