Monday, September 01, 2008

Monarch Transformation

One chrysalis, two caterpillars

The four Monarch butterfly caterpillars I brought home last week have done well and one of them changed to the chrysalis form a couple of days ago. Two others assumed the hanging position yesterday afternoon and one smaller one is still eating milkweed leaves.

A couple of years ago, Bev of Burning Silo posted a movie of a caterpillar turning into a chrysalis. I was hoping to see this happen today, Labour Day, as I am not working. The caterpillars appeared to be hanging still, but if you looked at them closely, they were working hard. There were rhythmic contractions of their bodies, not unlike labour contractions of birth.

Brand new chrysalis, still in development

I waited on the deck for about ninety minutes today which was not hard because it is gorgeous out there. All of a sudden, one of the caterpillars straightened out and started vigorously shedding its skin. I was able to catch it on a video recording with my camera. The clip is about five minutes long. About half an hour later the other caterpillar did the same and this time The Becka got to see it. Now I have three beautiful green gems hanging from the screen.

Once again, I hope to see one of them emerge as a butterfly in about two weeks or so.



18 comments:

  1. What an amazing thing to see! I watched it and then had my husband watch it too.

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  2. WOW, WOW, WOW! The only thing better than witnessing that will be watching the butterfies emerge. Truly amazing!

    Was that real time, did it actually only take the 5 minutes? What fell off at the end, their heads/tail? That was by far the best brush with nature I have seen. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. Lynne- I am glad you enjoyed it. It was the highlight of my day!

    Cheryl D.- I hope I see the next transformation too. Yes, it was in real time.I wanted to speed up the video clip but my software wouldn't do it. The thing that fell off at the tail end was the skin of the caterpillar.

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  4. Mexico Mom8:40 pm GMT-4

    You managed to capture what I never did see. We were successful in watching the butterflies emerge. You get an inking of what is happening when the jewel becomes slowly more and more transparent and you see the muted colours of the butterfly. I always manage to get the emerging insect to perch on my finger and when its wings are strengthened I carried it outside to a high and safe flower or bush. It was gone and flying well in about half an hour.

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  5. That was so worth the wait on the deck on a nice day!!!! So glad you caught this on film and shared it with us.

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  6. Wow...I have never seen that before and went to the other blog you posted about and looked at that too. What a treat. Thank you Ruth..

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  7. What a wonderful post......it gave me such joy this morning........my soul is restored and I can prepare for the day ahead.....tku for sharing such a beautiful moment......

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  8. Wow Ruth! That is just the coolest thing ever. So great that you noticed it and were able to record it. Thanks for sharing! Hope you catch the butterfly next. :c)

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  9. This is just amazing!

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  10. Fantastic! Thanks for giving us a look into this process. Absolutely amazing.

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  11. Thanks to all who took the time to comment. I am glad you enjoyed the video. Nature is quite amazing!

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  12. That was so wonderful. I've never gotten the chance to ever see something like that. Thanks so much for posting it, Ruth.

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  13. Such an amazing feat ! I have 2 Monarch caterpillars and one formed the chrysalis 9 days ago, and the other I just found yesterday and is still eating. I missed the first one, but am watching the 2nd one more carefully.
    Thanks for the video.What a rare observation.

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  14. Ruth, what a very wonderful amazing video!! I was not aware of that part of the cycle and have never seen that behavior before. I loved every moment of its viewing. I wish you luck with their progress and hope you are able to capture the unfolding of it wings when that occurs. Congratulations on a very, very well done presentation!
    ann

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  15. That's neat that you were able to capture the video Ruth. I've watched them transform in my ranch this summer, but my view wasn't as optimal as yours.
    Loved hearing your windchime in the background also and maybe some cedar waxwings too??

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  16. Mary C.- You're welcome!

    Becky and Gary- I do hope you get to see the change. I have 2 more caterpillars that are just preparing to hang tonight. One of them is very small though. Thanks for visiting!

    Ann- It really does happen so fast that it is very easy to miss. I may end up taking my monarchs to work if they look like they are about to eclose. I don't want to miss it and I am sure our patients will love it too.

    Ruthie- It is hard to get a good angle for pictures. I hung the screening with closepins from our lilac bush so I could get a better view. You hear windchimes, our neighbour's air conditioning unit and an airplane. I will have to listen for the birds...there were lots of chickadees and goldfinches about.

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  17. Thank you for such wonderful video! Remarkable!!!

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