Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monarch Butterfly, a.k.a. Danaus Plexippus

A few days before I went into labor, Chris spotted a monarch butterfly caterpillar on some milkweed growing in our yard.

Fearing that monarch caterpillars might be hunted by wasps in the same manner as the tomato horn worms, we moved the caterpillar into the garage. It was as big as my pinky finger already, but we were still surprised to find it preparing to turn into a chrysalis the very next day.

Within two hours, the dangling caterpillar had become a much smaller, much harder to spot chrysalis.

A bit shy of two weeks later, the chrysalis went transparent, revealing the butterfly folded up inside.

And hours later, the butterfly had emerged.

It was raining outside, so I was relieved that he chose to stick around for a while. When I got too close, he fluttered his wings open.

Later, when the rain had passed, the butterfly was gone. But when I looked down, I realized he had only made it a few feet to a clump of grass just outside of the garage. So I carefully relocated him to some flowers in the front yard.

You can tell it is a male by the black nodes in the ribs of the rear wings.

But before I moved the butterfly, I took its picture with Gabe. Gabe wasn’t interested.

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