Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Transformation Begins

Our Monarch caterpillars are on the move again. On Monday we found 6 of the caterpillars had moved from our Desert Milkweed plant to the Golden Butterfly Bush about 20 feet away. They were happily munching away on the leaves there, quickly nibbling them down to veins and bare stems.

This morning when we checked on the caterpillars, they had disappeared again and were no longer on the Butterfly Bush.

After carefully searching through our courtyard, we found two of the caterpillars had moved to our Chuparosa bush.

One of them was quietly hanging upside down from a protected twig inside the Chuparosa.

The second caterpillar had already begun its change into a chrysalis.

Over the course of a couple of hours, the caterpillar's skin started changing color. Starting at the lower end the stripes gradually changed into a lime green color that slowly moved up the caterpillar's body.

During this transformation you could see the caterpillar moving within the chrysalis.

Here is the final result  ---->>

The green chrysalis really blends in well with the surrounding green leaves. If we hadn't seen the caterpillar there beforehand, it would have been nearly impossible to pick it out. Can you find it in the picture below? (Hint at the bottom of this post.)

A week ago we started out with 10-12 Monarch caterpillars on our Desert Milkweed. Today we know where 2 of them are. We will be keeping a close watch for the other caterpillars as we (very carefully) work in our yard.

Did you find the chrysalis in the bottom picture?
It's in the center of the image, about 1/3 of the way down from the top.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
~ Leo Tolstoy , Russian writer and philosopher (1828-1910)

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