Saturday, August 30, 2014

Monarch Caterpillar to Chrysalis 8-29-2014

This event started about 10:00 am when I brought the caterpillar in the "J" stage into the office.
Zero hour, 10:51am

Little change but in the last hour I could see small contractions in the body segments, 5 hr, 22 min

The indication that the change was about to take place is when the tentacles went limp. The head and thorax are much lighter and the segment behind the head is swelling. The body is slowly beginning to straighten.   8hr, 39 min

The body has straightened and swollen moving the position of the forward true legs and the rear pro-legs. The head end is beginning to swell out of proportion to the body.   The outer skin (exoskeleton) begins to be forced upward as the pupa emerges from the split in the skin behind the head.  9 hr, 31 min.

The head end continues to swell and the pupa is moving in ripples forcing the skin upward like a sock pushed down around your ankle.   Things are progressing very rapidly at this point.  The next several shots happen within a few seconds of each other.  9 hr, 31min.

The ripple movements continue, the skin is forced away from the head end taking the old head covering with it.  9 hr, 31 min

The skin including head and legs continues to be forced upward exposing more of what will become the adult head, abdomen and wings.  9 hr, 32 min.

The pupa, nearly free of the skin, begins to move erratically in order to shed the old skin.  9hr, 33 min.

The skin is forced away from the pupa as it continues it's contortions and the pupa begins to shrink in size. The outside of the pupa appears very moist.  9 hr, 33 min.

The skin drops away and the movements begin to slow and the pupa continues to shrink. The tiny dimple between the two black dots near the upper attachment indicates that this adult will be a male Monarch Butterfly.  9 hr, 37 min.

The pupa is at rest after this considerable transformation. The pupa continues to shrink and the tiny gold spots that will adorn the chrysalis begin to appear.  9 hr, 58 min.

The exterior of the chrysalis begins to smooth and harden.  This the the opposite side of the chrysalis showing the Gold Crown of this truly deserving Monarch.  Sleep well my friend, your journey has not ended.  10 hr, 51 min.