Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finally - an emergence from a chrysalis

As of this morning, we have had 3 caterpillars make their chrysalis. The first one died of black death while in its chrysalis (sort of the bubonic plague of monarchs). The caterpillar had acted oddly just prior to making its chrysalis. And sometime after its wings were formed, it died before emerging. Yesterday was day 14 and we know for sure that it is dead (we had suspected for a few days, but were hoping).  However, a few days after the first one made its chrysalis, another one made its chrysalis. Then last night, another made its chrysalis. This one's tank mate, unfortunately passed away before making it to adulthood. Apparently, this is very common, but hard to watch. I also found another teeny-tiny caterpillar out on a leaf yesterday, so we are not done.

A newly emerged butterfly (imago) and a new chrysalis (pupa)

BUT, this morning, sometime after I came back from taking my beloved to take the bus to work this morning and before I came back down from my second sleep (aka extra hour before the littles drag me out of bed), our 2nd chrysalis had released it's captive!! The time of day was right (usually around 10ish in the morning...weird how they do that!). It's wings were fresh when I saw it, so we only just missed it!  Everyone was very excited.

M2 helping M3 hold it.
Since her wings were needed to harden, we ran our errands as planned. Then, this evening, when we finally all got home, the butterfly was trying to get out, so we took some pictures and then released her. Yes, it is a girl! Hurray! Little M3 is very, very sad that we could not keep her, but I told her that perhaps she will come back and lay some eggs on our milkweed for us in a few days.

She flew from my hand to the door! Ready to leave!

M2 holding her.

G2 holding her sideways.

Just moments before lift off.

Go here to see the 1st of 3 posts on Monarchs this year: (2014 Monarch Visit)
Go here to see the 2nd of 3 posts on Monarchs this year: (Monarch - the caterpillars)