Monday, August 6, 2007

A Monarch Lifecycle

On July 16th we found our Monarch caterpillar eggs, and we have been carefully taking care of our hatchling since then.
Our egg- found on the underside of a milkweed leaf.

Our hatchling was so tiny we had to be careful we didn't throw him away while we were putting fresh milkweed in his jar.

He ate and he ate and he ate. He grew and he grew and he grew. Every morning you could actually see that he had gotten bigger in the night.

On July 28th we noticed that our caterpillar had gotten into a "j", and was hanging from a milkweed stem.

That night we watched as he turned into a chrysalis. If you have never witnessed this, the caterpillar splits its skin and wiggles around and around for about a half an hour, until it becomes still and seems to harden.

This morning, 22 days after hatching from his egg we noticed that we could see through the chrysalis. We new that today was the day.

He hatched in the afternoon. It amazed everyone that such a big insect could come out of such a small space.

His empty chrysalis is still amazing.

He spent about an hour hanging upside down as his wings straightened out and began to dry.

He also practiced sending out his proboscis (his sucking mouth part), as if he were stretching it out also.

We know he is a boy because of these two dark spots on his underwings.

After about two hours of drying and stretching and trying his wings he was ready to go.

Gracie was going to take him outside, but to her, he seemed to be an attack monarch.

Mark had more success getting him outside. I would love to show a picture of him sitting on our sunflowers out in the backyard, but alas, he was very ready to head on his way, and flew beautifully away as soon as he was out the door.


Theresa said...

Absolutely stunningly beautiful! What a lovely project. And your photography is really great!

donna said...

Nice job, Joann!

Vicki said...

Incredible photographic story!

betty said...

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G photos!!!

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Wonderful experience - and the pics are terrific!

Great job!

Spinneretta said...

GREAT Job... the kids loved looking at this :)

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sending me this link. This gets me so excited!!