Thursday, September 22, 2011


 After sharing my post on September 1 regarding monarch caterpillars and butterflies, I discovered one of those pictured caterpillars preparing to go into its chrysalis phase.

It was hanging from one of the milkweed leaves, very still.  I thought it might be dying or already dead.  But it was also an opportunity to witness the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly if it was alive.

I cut a portion of the milkweed, including the leaf the caterpillar was suspended from, and put it in a vase.  I didn't expect to find much more than a dead caterpillar when I got up in the morning.  Boy, was I surprised!

Waiting for me was a beautiful green chrysalis that was adorned with golden specks.

Metamorphosis, changing from caterpillar to butterfly, takes from nine to fourteen days.  I kept close watch, but nothing happened in the first eleven days.  But on day twelve, I noted that the green was changing.  By the time I went to bed, the colorful wings could be seen through the now translucent chrysalis.  I was confident that within 24 hours, a butterfly would emerge.

This morning, with the colors even more vivid, I decided to take the chrysalis outdoors.  My plan was to see the butterfly appear, watch as it hung and its wings dried and then move it to the milkweed from where it would finally fly away.

I took the daily crossword puzzle, camera and cup of coffee to the porch and got comfortable in the chair where I was prepared to spend most of the day.  But before an hour had passed, I looked up just as the butterfly slipped from the chrysalis!  It hung there for about an hour, its wings slowly straightening.  Eventually I moved it to the milkweed plants where it spent the afternoon until it flew away.

If you're interested in reading more about monarch butterflies, I found this link informative:

No comments:

Post a Comment