Right now I am watching eight chrysalides in my garden. But as you can see, they are so well camouflaged that there must be several more hidden in the leaves that I have not found.
With this finding of the chrysalis in the Bougainvillea there is now a chrysalis or J stage caterpillar in all of the plants in this corner. Alstroemeria, lantana, salvia/sage, and Bougainvillea.
Note: Over 24 caterpillars in the Milkweeds today.
There is one Monarch butterfly caterpillar at J stage. Two more appear to be affixing to the Alstroemeria to prepare for J stage.
This J stage is the stage right before the caterpillar sheds its skin and becomes a chrysalis.
I’m trying to catch that shedding, but it’s difficult to do without a time-lapse camera taking photos every 5 minutes or so. But with three caterpillars in- or headed-to-J stage, maybe I’ll get lucky.
This is a fascinating process. If you want to see more, search for “Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle” on YouTube, there are many amateur videos which show the process from J stage to chrysalis.
Newly emerged Monarch butterfly, fluffing its wings. Zoom in. It emerged yesterday. I imagine that with the cold nights, it is emerging slowly. A mature butterfly would never stay in one place for hours like this one has been. I read that they pump air into their wings, so that could be what this one is doing.
And there will be more to come. If I can only find them.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar – soon to form a chrysalis – 10:05 AM
This photo is not in proper focus. But I wanted to capture that in less than three hours it went from caterpillar to chrysalis.
I thought that I was checking frequently enough to see it start and take progressive photos. It was Thanksgiving Day and in was busy. The process of shedding its skin and transforming to the chrysalis was over in about 2.5 hours.
I took this photo the following morning.
Currently there are four chrysalides at my house. I hope to find another in J state to take photos.
They will strip the Milkweed plant bare off leaves and flowers. But the Milkweed will sprout more branches with leaves and often with flowers.