10:59 AM Chrysalis appears ebony and shiny. It’s actually that the chrysalis itself is translucent and the black wing markings are providing most of the color. You can see a bit of dark orange from the wing as well. When the chrysalis looks black like this, when you can discern wing markings, emergence is immanent.
12:08 PM Barely an hour later (I missed it). The Monarch has emerged. It will cling near the chrysalis for hours while it prepares to be able to fly. Good time to get photos. In the next stage it will pump its wings. Yellow arrow: Monarch butterfly. Orange arrow: The shed chrysalis. It is nearly transparent. My observation is that the more transparent the shed chrysalis appears, the healthier the butterfly. Some have been grey, dark grey, cloudy. Butterflies from such chrysalides often cannot fly away.
Better photo of the newly emerged Butterfly in better light.
First time for me to find a Monarch chrysalis amidst the Bougainvillea. As they are very thorny, I was not positive that the caterpillars would go there. On the other hand the camouflage is good.
Perspective on chrysalis is Bougainvillea. Camouflaged.
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.
Morning. This is the caterpillar in J stage. It’s hanging with its head down. The backend has cemented itself to the Alstroemeria stem, somewhat sheltered by a leaf. I’m on transformation watch for it to shed its skin. Checking all through this rainy day.
Late afternoon. Very far along. Starting from the bottom, it sheds its skin by wiggling to push it up. The skin is that black folded material.
The skin moves up, revealing what will be the green chrysalis.
It is out of the skin. Sometimes they push they push the black skin entirely away until it falls to the ground. Sometimes it stays there. See the intricacy of the forming chrysalis at the bottom.
Getting dark. I’ll have to photograph the final chrysalis in the morning. I’m very excited. This is my first chance to see a caterpillar settling in place, then hanging J stage, then shedding skin.
Video of how it gyrates to push away the old skin.
Next morning. This is not the final, crystal-like shape of the chrysalis. I will post the final shape, io hope with less rain distorting the surface.
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.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar at J stage, before it sheds its skin to become a chrysalis
Appear to be affixing to Alstroemeria before J stage
These are the Alstroemerias
In the center is a green Monarch chrysalis. See how well camouflaged it is. I inadvertently planted an ideal garden for this habitat.
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.