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Best laid plans.. yeah right

August 29, 2008

So.. once again, family and life got in the way of something I really wanted to do..

but …

it’s all good…

I want to show your our butterfly… from start to finish πŸ™‚

We went on an ‘egg hunt’.. checking under the leaves of Milkweed for a Monarch Butterfly egg, like the one in the picture I actually managed to get with far less difficulty than I expected from my camera…

After a few days, our egg hatched… Here’s our bitty little guy.. fairly recently hatched… now he’s going to be the ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and get to work on the milkweed!

it’s only a matter of a week or so before he’s big!

When the caterpillar is ready to enter the pupa stage, he hangs in a J shape from a silk thread and ‘prepares’ for the final shedding of his skin, and the resulting pupa

Here’s our friend hanging and waiting…

The pupa stage is the most interesting.. especially if you get to watch. Over the course of the few weeks that our caterpillar ate and grew, it did have a few skin sheds… we never saw any of them.. but the pupa.. we managed to see a number of times (I did say we hatched 5 this year)… I tried to get detailed pictures of the last caterpillar in action… it’s quite interesting to watch and I’ll post a bunch of the photos here… the caterpillar after hanging almost lifeless for nearly a day, began a big wiggle-fest… and through the process the skin splits… and you see a bright green color through the crack.. this is the outer skin of the pupa, and the last caterpillar skin sheds slowly through the crazy wiggle dance… *click on any of the photos to see them larger*

at this point the pupa rests and hardens into a chrysallis, which is so beautiful flecked with gold spots along one edge.

The chrysallis, starts green ( cannot currently locate my photo)… and then as the caterpillar matures to a butterfly starts to fade over time.. the day that the new butterfly is ready to hatch the chrysallis will be entirely translucent, and you can see the beauty waiting to emerge…

The ‘hatching’ is very quick, and we lucked out in seeing it JUST after the butterfly dropped out of the chrysallis…

The butterfly hangs for a few hours, allowing the wings to entirely uncurl, and dry…

When the butterfly begins flapping his wings, he’s ready for food… we happen to have a beautiful bunch of butterfly bushes, so we just brought ours outside and placed them onto the flowers… it was fun to watch them uncurl the probosis and drink…

Ours hung around the yard for a few days… and hasn’t been seen since.. I’m sure it’s off finding some milkweed on which to lay some new eggs (yes, our last was a girl)

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Anita permalink
    August 29, 2008 7:58 pm

    How wonderful! Thank you for sharing those photos… what a beautiful thing to watch. πŸ™‚

  2. August 29, 2008 8:02 pm

    Wow! Thanks for sharing the photos! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a detailed description of what happens! πŸ™‚ fascinating!

  3. August 29, 2008 8:04 pm

    Stunning pics! Just amazing.

  4. August 29, 2008 9:50 pm

    That is really cool!!!!!

  5. Patti permalink
    August 29, 2008 10:37 pm

    So cool. You’re kids are lucky to have a mom that can introduce them to such beauties of nature.

  6. August 29, 2008 11:57 pm

    these are amazing photographs – you are so lucky to have caught that awesome experience!

  7. August 30, 2008 8:51 am

    Ok Michelle how do you know if a butterfly is a girl or a boy???

    That was a great photo… see you are homeschooling after all.

  8. kasiaiscarly permalink
    August 30, 2008 3:54 pm


  9. August 31, 2008 2:39 am

    OH MY GOSH! That is gorgeous!! You are so lucky to get a chance to see that in action.

  10. August 31, 2008 5:44 am

    Great photographs!

  11. August 31, 2008 9:51 am

    Neato! I hope our new butterfly bush will grow up to be like yours…

  12. September 1, 2008 1:11 am

    How cool! What great photos, too!

  13. September 9, 2008 1:18 pm

    Marvelous butterfly shots! It’s great to see the whole process.

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