Monarch Caterpillars Going Into Their Chrysalis

Hi there! Last week we ended our blog post about our Monarch caterpillars when they were starting to J-hang. They attach themselves firmly to the top of the cage or stick they are hanging from and then they hang like the letter J.

This week let’s talk about what happens when they go from J-hanging into their chrysalis. Here is a picture of 3 caterpillars in the different stages of going into a chrysalis.

The caterpillars hang in the letter J form for a day or so and then something amazing starts happening. They straighten their bodies out just a little and if you watch very carefully at just the right time, you can see little ripples moving up across their body. They are getting ready to shed their outside layer of “skin”. The “skin” will start to split open down by their head. They are hanging upside down so their head is at the bottom.

The split will get bigger and bigger and you will see more and more of the light green part appear.

Notice how the “skin” is getting all wrinkled up at the top.

Then finally, the bunch of old “skin” they don’t need anymore falls off.

They will wiggle around inside for a little bit and they will get shorter and shorter.

The outside of the chrysalis begins to look smooth.

Here is a chrysalis that is finished that we found outside.

Did you notice the gold colored dots and the gold ring around the chrysalis? Isn’t it beautiful?! The caterpillar is inside the chrysalis now and will be there for around 1 to 2 weeks. You won’t see much happening for a while but a wonderful, amazing transformation is taking place inside! Be sure to come back next week when we’ll talk about the process that happens next! That’s when the new butterfly emerges from the chrysalis! 🙂

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