Friday, 27 July 2012


6 of our Monarchs reached adultood today. That is, they metamorphosed from chrysalis to butterfly. Back on July 1, I started collecting milkweed leaves that had eggs on them. If I had left them on the plant outside to hatch, they'd make tasty snack for the earwigs. That day, the first caterpillar hatched. It was about 3mm long.
A day later...

One by one, the rest of them hatched. They ate and grew and pooped until they were about 5cm long and then, one by one, they spun silk-like fibres anchoring them in place in preparation for the change from larva to chrysalis.

Yesterday morning, I noticed the first one had come out of its chrysalis. (You can see how low-tech cultivating them is)
It took several hours before it was ready to fly away. The wings stretch out and dry leaving an couple of orange drops of liquid beneath it. I moved the jar outdoors with the lid off.
When Skip came home from golf he felt the butterfly was struggling to get out of the jar so he put a twig in the jar and fairly soon thereafter, the butterfly climbed out of the jar.
A few hours later, it flew over to our potted rosemary plant.
The black dots on the vein of the wings mean that this one is a male. He also was rather large.

Last night I noticed there were several others getting ready to emerge.
They look darker because the black of the wings is starting to show through the chrysalis as it becomes clear.

Here they were this morning.
This one climbed on my finger when I was trying to transfer it from the lid to the twig.
By 1pm, a total of 6 had emerged. We have two left to go. It'll probably happen in the next couple of days or so.

They grow up so fast...

1 comment:

  1. This is totally amazing! I'd love to do this next year - how do you identify their eggs initially? You put the leaves in the jar and they form the chrysalis in the jar?...and then wait for them to hatch?

    Totally amazing!