monarchs are now in chrysalis mode


Just as I thought, the monarch caterpillars were already in their 5th instar when I discovered them last weekend on the milkweed plant.

They munched and munched away on the milkweed leaves and were each about 2 1/2 inches long.

Two days ago both started to explore every bit of their new home, the plant in its plastic pot covered securely with fine mesh fabric. One decided to spin its silk mat to attach itself to the mesh, just below the rim of the pot, yet still inside of the pot. While in the "j" hanging position although it was inert, we saw it wiggle a few times. The location it decided on is good, because when the butterfly hatches, it will just need to land 5 inches to the soil.

Yesterday early evening we saw that the larva /caterpillar had morphed into the pupa or chrysalis mode. It is a beautiful jade green with golden dots.

Meanwhile the other larva/caterpillar had spun its silk mat onto the mesh outside of the pot, and was in the "j" mode". But its location, outside of the pot isn't good because the hatching butterfly needs a level, open area to land. This means that once the larva is in pupa/chrysalis form, we will need to VERY carefully move the mesh fabric so that the chrysalis will hang vertically inside the pot.

The small bright white spot you see near the caterpillar / larva is the silk mat it spun to attach itself to the mesh.

This evening we saw that this second caterpillar / larva has now also morphed into a pupa/ chrysalis.

Both of them are perfectly formed, though quite small, about 3/4 inch long.

So far, so good. Many things can go wrong during this stage.

Some excellent informative sites to read for advice are

http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/amazing-raise-monarch-chrysalis-problems/

http://www.monarchwatch.org/

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