Metamorphosis

Sarah picked up two wild monarch caterpillars and an egg this summer and we’ve been raising them and releasing the butterflies. Below are some pictures of the process, though not all pictures are of the same individual. (Click on the pictures to see larger versions.)

Monarch egg (from wikipedia because I couldn't get a good shot of our egg)
Monarch egg (from wikipedia because I couldn’t get a good shot of our egg)
Hatchling caterpillar (first instar)
Hatchling caterpillar (first instar), with nearby egg casing
Mature caterpillars munching their way through some milkweed clippings
Mature caterpillars munching their way through some milkweed clippings

Metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis (pupa):

Over the next few hours, the chrysalis assumed its final form:

The final chrysalis
The final chrysalis with gold flecks
The chrysalis darkens and reveals the orange butterfly ready to emerge
The chrysalis darkens and reveals the orange butterfly ready to emerge
Empty chrysalis
Empty chrysalis
Monarch with dry wings, ready for flight
Monarch with dry wings, ready for flight
Emerging
Emerging
Freedom
Freedom
Brief rest on a tree in the yard before flying off over the house
Brief rest on a tree in the yard before flying off over the house

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