Friday, October 1, 2010

Raising Monarchs Part 2 (Heavy on Photos)

This was one of my most exciting nature experiences!!! I FINALLY got to see a butterfly emerge from it's chrysalis. I have raised numerous butterflies--painted ladies, black and tiger swallowtails. But this is the first time I've seen one in the process of coming out. Soooo, I took a lot of photos. ;D However, I'll spare you the minute details and give you the highlights.

When you are waiting for the chrysalis, you have to check it constantly because once it's ready, it's ready. I saw that ours had gotten dark and then noticed that I could see some faint color of the wings. So I brought it outside onto the front porch and we enjoyed the process.

Tigger got as close as he could. Once it starts emerging you realize that the chrysalis has gotten completely transparent and the darkness you saw was the butterfly.

The emergence happens pretty rapidly.

Once it's out it has to take it's time allowing the wings to fill with blood which puffs them out into what we're used to seeing.

The upside down photo--in an effort to get a shot between the wings. Didn't work but still neat.

So how many legs does a butterfly have? It's an insect right? So it should be 6. And it is. However, I could never see two of the six and here it explains why. (3rd paragraph under the adult section)
See the two black circles on the lower wings? That indicates this is a male. The female doesn't have those black circles.
More info and photos of the monarch can be found here.

We thoroughly enjoyed this experience raising a different kind of butterfly. With our kit, we received some seeds of the perennial milkweed plant so I'm hoping next year to get some of those plants going. One of my landscaping goals is to provide food and habitat for various wildlife. The milkweed plant is a host plant for the monarch. We already grow dill which is a host plant for the swallowtails. And passionflower vines which are the hosts for the gulf fritillary.

Plant more wildflower areas everyone! The bees and butterflies really need it.

1 comment:

The Glasers said...

We had the same problem with our painted ladies--we could only see four of the six legs. We did not see ours emerge, but we did see the ladybug crawl out of its pupa case.

Thanks for the tip on the passionflower. I know where there's a huge patch of them, so I guess it's time to hunt for some chrysalis and see if we can collect enough to get some eggs and watch the whole cycle!

Don't apologize for the photos! They are gorgeous!