The Monarchs

Remember when I found two monarch caterpillars on a milkweed plant, and brought them in the house so we could witness their metamorphosis?

Yes, that's caterpillar poop on the leaf!

Two days later, I got up in the morning and checked on them. The larger of the two was hanging from a leaf in the "J" position. I checked on it throughout the day; I wanted to see the formation of the chrysalis. We had to go to town in the afternoon, and when we got home the process was already finished. A pretty, green chrysalis hung from the leaf. There were even a few specks of gold glitter (or so it seemed to me).

The smaller caterpillar continued to eat and eat and eat. I had to move it once; it was threatening to chew completely through the leaf where the other one was attached. I continued to bring in fresh milkweed leaves daily.

By the afternoon of the third day, the smaller caterpillar was under a leaf and not as active as it had been. Aha, I thought, it's nearly time for this one too. Sure enough, by afternoon it too was hanging down in a "J".

I was hopeful that this time I could watch the process. I took a photo every couple of hours. The next morning it was still a hanging caterpillar. I went outside to milk, and when I came back inside it was a green chrysalis. That was fast - I missed it again.

It wiggled for awhile; my friend Carol said it was "rearranging its body parts" so it could become a butterfly. How awesome is that?

They are so pretty. They remind me of seashells with the molded ridges, pearly color, and gold flecks, even a rim of gold on the top. Such intricate beauty, such a wondrous creation. Click on the photo to make it bigger and you'll see what I mean.

Their timing was good: they made their chrysalides just two days apart, they are in the pupa stage for 10-14 days, and our granddaughter would arrive in four days. Perfect!

Part One

Part Two - this post

Part Three