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!