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Monarch Butterfly Birthday March 4, 2013

Filed under: God's Beautiful Creation,Photography — Holly Jackson @ 9:05 pm
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I almost felt like a new grandma seeing her first grandchild being born. Well maybe not quite but it was pretty exiting. The was my second chrysalis that had formed. The first chrysalis has hung for about 5 months and I think it is a goner.  I have researched so many websites about monarch butterflies just trying to figure out what is normal for it’s life cycle.

This is the first chryslis from the caterpillar I adopted from a plant at work.

Dried up chrysalis :-(

Dried up chrysalis 😦

I watched it every day and when the caterpillar began to form the J shape I was ecstatic! After I  found out through my research (along with my Mom and Aunt doing their own research) that butterflies can make a type of “antifreeze” making it easier to survive the cold nights, I felt there might be hope for my first chrysalis after all;  however I wondered why it was taking so long for it to emerge after its’ green shell transformed to a clear shell. The longer it hung on the plant the drier it started to look. It was about 2 1/2 months that it lingered until it finally got a crack on the outer casing. This didn’t look good for the guy. It seemed to dry up inside. January brought  some pretty cold nights in Ojai so it must have taken its toll.

but when another caterpillar begun his own transformation on the plant, I turned my my attention to it.

And…….the other one looked like this:

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Despite the aphids taking up residence with the chrysalis, one day it happened and I couldn’t believe it. It changed to a see-through shell (pic above) and i could see its delicate wings through the casing. I thought surely it will be hatching soon.

130304003It did it did! So Amazing!

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Waiting for a Monarch January 25, 2013

Patiently waiting...

Patiently waiting…

 

Almost ready for it magnificent escape, and barely hanging by a thread; this is day 58 in the life cycle from egg, to caterpillar to chrysalis. Normally this takes about 9-14 days from the time the caterpillar changes into a chrysalis then to an emerging butterfly. This little guy has been hanging around for what I believed was way to long. I guessed it must have died in its small green shell. This was my first monarch butterfly chrysalis so I was very invested in watching this take place. I even adopted this caterpillar from an asclepias plant that grows by my office complex.

Our gardeners were cutting back the plant every week and I figured I should take it home. I wanted to make sure it was able to finish its life cycle without the threat of clippers cutting short is life! Some pun intended.  So I carefully put it in a cup and drove it home to a safer place. I had three asclepias (Butterfly Weed) plants that I could transfer it to.

Once he started to make his “J” shape on the underside of the leaf I was practically giddy. I went so far as to tell my coworkers the next day that I was going to be a Grandma…to a butterfly.  So maybe I should ask them if anyone will be planning a butterfly shower soon!

If this little guy makes it out of his shell soon I just hope the next four days of rain that is forecast will not hinder his  journey.

Where do butterflies hide from the rain?