Thursday, April 15, 2010

Monarch Birth

This morning I noticed a Monarch chrysallis that was ready to open, so I got another cup of coffee, my camera - and I sat down to wait for the magic moment. 

I picked up the stick that had the chrysallis attached and looked at it closely.  I could see where the bottom looked like it had begun to crack open....



















Next, I took a picture of the chrysallis from each angle...
























































Isn't it wonderful how you can see the wings through the clear chrysallis?  Originally, the chrysallis is a light green with gold dots - like a little Japanese Lantern.   When the butterfly is ready to come out, you can see it right through the chrysallis - as you can see above.

I waited and waited.  I had to go to work by 11:00am and it was 10:00am.  Time was moving on.  I decided to take the chrysallis with me into the bedroom so I could watch it while I got dressed.  Just as I had one shoe on and was getting ready to put the other one on, I noticed the crack in the bottom get noticeably wider.  Aaaaaarghh!!!  I grabbed my camera and the chrysallis stick and ran back out on the porch in the sunlight - one shoe on and and one shoe off.




















As I held the stick in my hand, I watched the butterfly emerge......



















































































































First, the head, legs and antennae begin to emerge.  Next the body moves down out of the chrysallis a bit and then the abdomen drops down from it's position at the top of the chrysallis.

























































































































































As the butterfly emerged further, his wings became free of the chrysallis entirely, but they are wrinkled at first.  The Monarch moved to the top underside handle of a basket and hung there, letting his wings spread out and dry. 




















I think this is a male because he has a "smudgy", darker orange area on the 2nd stripe from the bottom of his wing - see it?  Click on the picture and look closer.  Those are "scent glands" - or so the butterfly book says, and only the males have these. 

Here's a bit better picture from the other side.


















Below is a picture from this blog, "Lettuce Share" - this is NOT my photograph.  I noticed "Lettuce Share" is about butterflies and gardening, so I have bookmarked it so I can check back there often.  Go there yourself and see the beautiful Monarch butterflies in ALL stages.  This blogger has photographed the caterpillar stage and when the caterpillar forms the pupa, two stages I have not captured yet.  Notice on the back of the Monarch's wings there is a little "blob" on the first stripe over from the abdomen - those are the "scent glands".  I couldn't wait for my Mr. Monarch to open his wings all the way - I had to get to work......


 















The next to last picture is Mr. Monarch resting on the underside of a branch, shaded by a leaf and protected from the wind until his wings are completely dry and he can fly off.  I left him there reluctantly - it's tough being a mom and letting your baby go out into the world.....

Meanwhile, I have to go to work!!!

5 comments:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Wow, that is beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to photograph that.

I hope you remembered to put your other shoe on. :)

Suze said...

Ha ha ha - yes, I went back inside and put the other shoe on. But not before I looked at my friend through a magnifying glass.

Lesley said...

Hi! I'm Lesley from Lettuce Share. I was thrilled to see your post. Of all the chrysallises I've hatched in my laundry room, I've missed every one emerge. It's as if they get stage fright! You were smart to carry that one around with you.

Suze said...

I would have missed it if I hadn't carried it with me. I would have had both shoes on and missed the butterfly emerge!

Suze said...

By the way - I LOVED your photos of the caterpillar making it's chrysalis. Those were awesome....