The Miraculous Transformation — Part 2

July 30

This was the big big day — eight new butterflies entered this world from my little garden!

The first two out were numbers 8 and 10, on the wall post. That’s #8 in front, and #10 in the rear, just emerging, behind the chrysalis of #9, which hasn’t opened yet.



The next one out was Butterfly #7 (the chrysalis on the left above):







The pioneering trio, wings all pumped out:

I believe these are all females.

I believe these are all females.

The next one, finally, was #9. By this time, nos. 8 and 10 had climbed up on the top of the wall post.



By this time I had noticed a couple of the butterflies having trouble climbing onto the side of the brick, so I hastily put up some terrycloth. Here’s #7 making use of it (I think nos. 8 and 10 have already flown the coop). This picture also answers the question “Do smaller chrysalises produce smaller butterflies?” The answer is yes!


Shortly #11, on the opposite corner of the wall post, made her appearance:





Unfortunately, for some reason #7 refused to stay on the terrycloth. She kept trying to move off to the side — and at some point she fell! I didn’t see her fall, but I found her crawling around on the ground underneath the wall post. Fortunately her wings were developed enough that they were not damaged by the fall — she seemed unhurt. But newly hatched butterflies need to cling so that their wings hang vertically behind them, so I put some terrycloth on the Butterfly sign, then induced her to crawl onto a piece of screen and moved her to the terrycloth:



After a resting period of some hours, she finally flew off and seemed fine.

There was another “falling” mishap with #13, on one of the concrete bricks at the top of the wall. Here’s he is in his chrysalis and newly emerged:





For a while I was preoccupied with some of the other butterflies. Then I looked over and saw #13 sitting on the milkweeds below his chrysalis! I can only assume he fell, but somehow landed on the milkweed. I don’t think he was developed enough to fly. In any case, there he stayed for several hours and eventually flew off, none the worse for it:



The next to emerge was #18 on my Royal Penstemon:

Another female.

Another female.

Finally, the small butterfly hanging from the Butterfly sign came out:

Also a female.

Also a female.

Following these creatures was exhausting on this day, but I was thrilled that there were no major mishaps, and they all went on their way apparently successfully. It’s worth noting that for the next couple of weeks, and to this day, I have seen many Monarchs flitting around my yard, and even laying more eggs! I suspect most of them are from this batch. Mazel Tov to all of them!


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4 Responses to “The Miraculous Transformation — Part 2”

  1. Frances Says:

    Neat butterfly! Thank you.

  2. Debbie Ballentine Says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    What a wonderful post! I really enjoy all the details, particularly the step-by-step photos of the butterflies pupating. I also like the idea of using terrycloth so the butterflies have something to cling to.

    Hey, I’ve know some people who bring the eggs and/or larva inside and feed them until they pupate. It helps protect the larva from hungry birds. Have you ever tried this? I’m just wondering what people are and aren’t doing that’s successful. Obviously your Monarchs are doing very well. Congratulations!

    Best regards,
    Debbie Ballentine

  3. marjorie Says:

    Nice pictures, Cynthia, and surely took a lot of time and work.
    Very educational.

  4. cynthiasnativegarden Says:

    Thank you all! Debbie, I have considered “raising” Monarchs indoors the way some people do, but it seems way too labor-intensive for me, and I guess I just prefer seeing them in their native environment.

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