From Caterpillar to Chrysalis

From the time the Monarch caterpillar lays its egg on a milkweed leaf

Monarch egg

Monarch egg

and grows to become a butterfly is approximately one month.

After the egg hatches, the caterpillar (or cat for short) becomes an eating machine.  Starting out as barely visible, the cat grows

monarch  caterpillar

and grows

monarch caterpillar

and grows

monarch caterpillar

and grows

monarch

They are eating me out of house and milkweed!

monarch

This one is about to graduate from caterpillar school

When the cat has completed its cycle as a caterpillar, it will find a suitable spot to rest before making its chrysalis.

monarch

This is the classic ‘J’ formation that signals the cat is done with its caterpillar days and is preparing itself for transformation.  The caterpillar may stay in this position for a couple of hours to a couple of days.

When the time is right, the cat then begins to shed its skin revealing its cocoon or chrysalis.  This process is amazing to see and there are several you tube videos out there if you want to look it up.

The end product is a beautiful green chrysalis,

monarch chrysalis

a secure home for the monarch to transform

monarch chysalis

decorated with a mysterious gold band distinctive only to the monarch chrysalis.

monarch chysalis

nature is so amazing.

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
This entry was posted in Arkansas, Butterflies, Garden, Home and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to From Caterpillar to Chrysalis

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    Fascinating stuff. I’m glad that the monarchs have you — and plenty of others — in their corner. They need all the help they can get. Thank you.

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  2. Love this…How long will they be in the chrysalis?

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  3. Holleygarden says:

    Great post! I didn’t know all of this, and your photos from start to finish are fabulous. I have seen Monarchs traveling through here, but have never seen the caterpillars or the chrysalis. That chrysalis looks like a jewel pendant.

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  4. Do you ever get up in the morning and find a hatched Monarch in your butterfly hatchery?

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    • They usually emerge in the morning (not sure why) I have seen this happen and it doesn’t take long for them to break through the chrysalis. It does, however, take them a full day to completely dry out enough to fly.

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  5. I am so sorry to miss this in my garden but I can still see it through yours!!

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  6. What a beautiful post of this life cycle! It’s almost monarch migration time! Can’t wait to see the first of those magnificent insects come this way.

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  7. Brenda, this is an amazing gift–thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

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  8. Nuts! I meant also to say I LOVE the coreopsis on your header! Also, I do lots of gardening, too. 🙂 And love my viceroy larvae:
    http://katharinetrauger.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-round/

    Like

  9. kathythechickenchick says:

    I’m fascinated by the entire process, but the gold banding is super cool! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    Like

  10. Pingback: Monarch Butterfly Update | The Blonde Gardener

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