Ooh, it's Monarch Number Three


The day after the second monarch, a male, emerged and flew away, the third chrysalis was in a hurry to eclose.

In the late morning, this chrysalis was a dark green, but not dark enough to indicate signs of eclosing the same day. Imagine our surprise when we checked on it in the late afternoon and saw it like this!

The chrysalis is clear and waxy looking, with a few cracks in it.

This is the same butterfly that pupated on the tip of a showy milkweed leaf.

Since other caterpillars were still munching on the same plant, we knew that the leaf would be eaten and the chrysalis would have fallen.

We cut the leaf the chrysalis was on and taped the leaf to the outer rim of the container.

You see the tape here, keeping the milkweed leaf anchored.

A few minutes later, out popped the monarch.

The double lines ending in curls above its head is its proboscis that the monarch weaves together to form a tube, so that it can sip nectar.

The wings are crumpled and damp.

The wings enlarge as they straighten out and dry.

This is why it's so important that the butterfly is able to keep a firm grasp and have room to have its wings hang down vertically.

The proboscis is now in a tight curl close to the monarch's head, but still not woven together.

We were very concerned because it was very windy and the butterfly was being buffeted in the gusts. So Tony put his forefinger in front of monarch so that it could climb up and be carefully transported onto one of the blossoms of the dahlia plant growing in the container pictured here.

The monarch, another male, quickly grasped the dahlia blossom.

We carefully moved the dahlia container, monarch and all, next to one of the garden sheds on the patio. It could then be out of the gusts, and focus on weaving its proboscis and continue to dry its wings.

Since the monarch emerged fairly late in the day, the sun was low on the horizon.

It seemed quite content to be on the blossom.

I was so relieved to see that it decided to roost there for the night.

Roosting on the dahlia blossom.

Mid-morning the next day, as soon as the temperature was just right, the monarch suddenly flew up in the air and was off.

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