Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monarch butterfly chrysalis

I came across something interesting today to share with you. School starts today where I work and I'm excited for the new year to begin. So, in the spirit of all things educational, I'd like to present you with three butterfly chrysalises.
The jade green one is such a beautiful color!

In the picture above, the chrysalis on the right opened this morning. The monarch butterfly rested for a bit and then took off. If you look closely at the chrysalis on the left, however, you can see the wings of the butterfly inside. This one will probably open either later today or tomorrow.

These were on the porch of the main house on the horse farm on which I live. The owner was given them yesterday as a gift from a friend. Adult female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves. The eggs hatch in 3-12 days, depending on weather conditions. The larvae feed on the plant leaves for about 2 weeks, developing into caterpillars about 2" long.

After a little while, the little caterpillars attach themselves, head facing down, to a twig as they shed their outer skin and begin the miraculous transformation into a pupa, or chrysalis. This takes a few hours. When the caterpillar's done, the pupa looks like a waxy, jade vase (like the photo above) and becomes increasingly transparent as the process progresses.
And in about 2 weeks, voila! A beautiful adult butterfly emerges. But they have one more step until flight. The butterfly will inflate its wings using a pool of stored blood in its abdomen. When done, excess fluid is expelled and it rests, waiting for its wings to stiffen and dry before it flies away to begin the process all over again.

Aren't you glad you come here? Because I'm certainly glad that you do! If you'd like to see pictures of the process happening, or would like to show them to your children or grandchildren, visit the monarch picture story site. It's specifically designed for young ones. Um, and people like me.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of the chrysalides!

20 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

absolutely amazing they are!
thank you for sharing I am off to see the kids site :)

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Yes! I'm very glad I come here! These photos are wonderful. My daughter plants milkweed to attract Monarchs, and currently is trying to protect some several caterpillars. They keep disappearing to birds, wasps, etc. I'm hoping we'll have a chrysalis or two to watch in a few days.

Charli and me said...

Butterflies are so amazing! Thank you for the lesson. It was very interesting.

Hilary said...

I'm always thrilled that I've found your blog. You have some of the absolute best photos out there. Very cool indeed!

Suzette said...

Just lovely...and I learned a thing or two! I passed this on to my butterfly-lovin' aunt. I'm sure she will enjoy it, too.

BTW...love the new fall banner.

womaninawindow said...

OK, that shot of the jade crysallis is too much to handle. Really, stunning!

Mary said...

Cool! I mean, just, COOL!
xoxo,
Mary

"JEANNELLE" said...

Oh, these photos are just wonderful.....and all the butterfly transformation information! I found an abandoned chrysalis in an odd spot the other day, and will publish a post about it in a couple days.

My brother-in-law was here today to collect some milkweed plants for his second-grade teacher wife, who collects caterpillars to put with the milkweeds so the kids can get a firsthand view of chrysalides (thank you for teaching me the plural of that word!).

leslie said...

Isn't it fascinating to learn how nature "unfolds!" I saw things like this at the Butterfly Farm in Victoria in July.

TSannie said...

One of nature's prettier creations. Nicely done, Kate!

Deb said...

The new photo in your header is just beautiful! I, too, am planning on changing my photo in the header but haven't found one just. I love fall mums.
Your photos are amazing and glad I found your blog, thanks to my friend Debra!

Starwoodgal said...

That is so cool!

Jo said...

Those are beautiful. The green one looks like a little acorn. I wonder if they're supposed to look like that for camoflage.

You always have such gorgeous photos!

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I'm so glad to have come across your blog many moons ago. You can count me as one of your biggest fans! I find many butterflies to photograph but none in the cocoon stage. Fascinating read!

BTW, I love your new header! I also need to find a new one more suitable for fall.

Rosezilla said...

Thank you, Teacher! That was just plain COOL! I am very glad I come here.

noble pig said...

My son did the whole Monarch Butterfly unit in school and I love watching them all transform from caterpillars, it's really amazing.

Shimmy Mom said...

Great photos Kate! I've always been amazed by the whole metamorphosis that butterflies go through. I still don't totally understand how it happens, but that's probably what makes it so fun to witness. Thanks for sharing. I'm always glad that I visit here!
*hugs*

Hi! My name is Heidi! said...

Cool pics as usual! You, more than anyelse have motivated me to get back on the photography wagon:) Thanks:)

Country Girl said...

You guys are great. What more can I say.

~ C.G.

Adventure girl wanna be said...

Am I losing my mind or having a serious cause of Deja Vu? I have read this post before??