Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

My wish has come true. I have seen my Monarchs go full cycle from tiny caterpillars to become beautiful butterflies. I have waited in my backyard for many hours watching and hoping for this wonderful transformation. And yesterday I finally saw and photographed an emergence. It is still a miracle to me. About two days before this event the chrysalis begins to change color. And in the last hours before the butterfly emerges the chrysalis gets very dark and the wings of the butterfly inside become visible. Then without fanfare the bottom of the chrysalis cracks open and the Monarch inside slowly emerges. In a matter of moments it is out and holding onto the empty shell of the chrysalis. For the next few minutes it pumps the fluid it has in it's abdomen into its wings until they expand to reveal their full glory. Once the wings are full size it still takes about an hour for them to harden. The new Monarch then climbs up to a good launch site where it practices flapping its wings and takes off. I can only tell you that my heart lifted with joy as I saw a Monarch take its first flight. We have successfully 'hatched' 8 Monarchs so far and we still have 9 chrysalises and at least 6 caterpillars to go.   


  1. As a boy we had milkweed that grew in the vacant field behind us and every year many Monarchs would fill the clusters of milkweed. As time passed we would watch as the catapilars evolved into a butterfly. What an experience that was and one that as a boy has stuck with me without fail. Great series Alice, masterfully photographed.

  2. Wonderful Photographs.I hope you don't mind if I show them to my students. Keep up the terrific work. Give my regards to Don.