Butterfly Life Cycle
are the eggs of a Monarch Butterfly found on a Milkweed plant.
They are usually placed on tthe underside of the leaves but can also
be found on the flowers and stems of the plant.
Here is a very young first or second instar
caterpillar.They usually eat under the leaf
at this stage.
Here is a third or fourth instar caterpillar
that just shed its skin.
They usually eat the skin after shedding it.
When fully grown, the caterpillars are about 2 inches long and nice and plump.
I have noticed that they chew at the base of the leaf until the leave just
dangles but is still attached to the stem.
Then they start eating the leaf at they hang from it.
The caterpillar stage lasts around 2 weeks.
Here is my Monarch Caterpillar is his J formation. He will hang like this for about 24 hours.
Many amazing changes are going on inside!
noon, my caterpillar began his transformation.
First , the caterpillar begins to wiggle alot!
Then, the caterpillar skin breaks open from behind the head.
With some more violent wiggling, the skin gets pushed all the way up to the top
where its hanging from the spun silk threads.
After some more wiggling, the skin drops to the ground.
The pupa appears wet and shiny for a while but soon starts to harden
and become a soft pale green.
They stay in the pupal stage for about 2 weeks.
I actually have a video of the entire process that I am working on to
upload to YouTube!
I will post when I have it ready.
two butterflies did not make it, very sad.
They died before emerging.
There are several bacterial and viral diseases that can cause this.
one emerged but got her abdomen stuck inside the pupa.
She kept struggling but could not get completely out.
I had to assist with some tweezers.
I believe this one is also sick because the abdomen seemed
abnormally large and when I released her,
she would try to fly but kept falling to the ground. 6/11/10
is an adult Monarch laying eggs on the underside of a leaf on a Milkweed plant
in my garden.
Needless to say, most of my Milkweeds are just bare stems now!
This particular Milkweed Plant is a
Scarlet Milkweed (Asclepias curassavicum).
can you not love then though! 6/2010