Saturday, October 17, 2009

Birth of a Butterfly

I wanted to make bread today for world bread day but life took over, the life of a monarch butterfly to be precise. Three falls ago I planted three milk weed plants to attract monarch butterflies to lay eggs on the leaves and observe the caterpillars. Within days there were dozens of green eggs that hatched into tiny caterpillars that devoured the plants. One day they all disappeared to form their chrysalis so I never saw the full cycle of this beautiful organism. Last fall there were not butterflies, but this year they came back and we were lucky to observe 6 juicy caterpillars fattening up in front of our eyes. When they started moving away I decided to trap one in a vase so we could see the miracle of the birth of the butterfly. It took three weeks for the chrysalis to fully mature, probably because it got really cold for a while. Today I was able to observe the miracle of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis and take these pictures. Just breath taking.

Remember this fella?

Three weeks ago


Early this morning

Emerging from the chrysalis

Wings are growing fast

Ten minutes later

Trying to get out

It's a boy!

Warming up for the big migration to Mexico. I hope he makes it.


natalia said...

Mi hai fatto venire i brividi ! Che bella !

Gaia said...

Davvero un miracolo!!
Che bello!
Ma tra il baco a strisce e il bozzolo verde, che metamorfosi c'e' stata? Sono curiosa e ignorante al tempo stesso..

Sweet Charity said...

Super awesome! A few years back I woke up one morning to a strange sound coming from the back yard. I opened the back door and peered out to see thousands (I'm not exagerating here) of butterflies warming themselves under the awning for our deck... at first I thought they were monarchs, but they turned out to be Painted Ladies.
Anyhow, I wanted to mention it's too bad you've dropped out of the BBA challenge... I think I'm probably last in the group these days- I just finished English muffins.

Jill said...

I love that you caught every wonderful step! What a great post! :)

Rose said...

What a wonderful journey! How can you tell if it's a boy?!

Laura said...

Thanks for all the comments, yes it was a miracle to see it.

Rose, there are two symmetrical little black dots on the lower part of the wings and that tells me it was a male. Males also have thinner black lines than females.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So beautiful! Nature's amazing!



sarah said...

Nice to see another foodie biologist, lovely blog and pictures

Y said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Elra said...

Laura laura, please tell me where did you actually plant this three milk weed? I mean, was it in full sun, part sun, what kind of soil? The reason why ask is that I've planted them so many time so many seasons, none of them grow in my garden. I want them so badly in my yard, would you share the secret? Please?

Lien said...

this is so pretty, amazing how nature does it's thing. Great sequence of pictures.

Joanne said...

Incredible pictures! I know you must have been so excited to be able to not only witness such a beautiful metamorphosis, but to capture it on film as well!

MC said...

Gorgeous! Thank you for this breathtaking post!

Judy said...

I love this! It brings back so many memories of when my Dad and I used to do this when I was small.


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