Hello and welcome to another adventure in the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly! Last week we looked at how the Monarch caterpillar changes into its chrysalis. Today we’ll see what happens when it’s time for the butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis. (Hang on until the end of this post for the video!) So just to remind you, here’s what the Monarch butterfly’s chrysalis looks like.
When the time for the butterfly to emerge is getting close, the chrysalis will start to turn a darker color and look black. Notice in this picture that one chrysalis looks green but the one in the background is black.
Here is a closer look.
Did you notice that you can see the butterfly’s wing inside the chrysalis? My pictures aren’t super clear because they are taken looking through the plastic container, but here is a picture taken with a flashlight shining on the chrysalis.
Whoa!! How cool is that?! The chrysalis is now very thin and you can see the butterfly! Next, the chrysalis starts to slowly open. Can you see along the left hand side that the chrysalis is splitting open?
Then the split becomes a little wider. The butterfly is hanging upside down right now and you can start to see its head coming out first.
The butterfly is dropping down a little lower now. You can start to see its legs that are folded up close to its head.
It’s now beginning to slide out of the chrysalis!
Sliding farther out…almost there! The chrysalis will stay attached to the top of the container as the butterfly slides down and out of it.
And it’s out! Look how big it’s body looks right now and how small and folded up it’s wings are.
The butterfly grabs a hold of the empty chrysalis and it will hang right side up now.
As the butterfly hangs on the chrysalis, it will pump fluid into its wings and the wings will begin to expand and the body will become smaller. This next picture was taken 5 minutes after the butterfly emerged or eclosed. Its wings are still wrinkled looking.
Then 10 minutes…it’s wings are looking straighter.
And then here is 15 minutes after emerging.
It takes a couple of hours for the butterfly to finish this process and for it’s wings to expand and dry off. They don’t need to eat right away so it’s good to give them time to dry off and to begin to flex their wings. After a few hours have passed, I carefully open the container and put my hand close to the butterfly and they usually climb onto my finger. And then it’s time to set them free outside.
Here is a video I took of the process of the butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis. It is so amazing to watch this happen!
It has been such a rewarding experience for me to help these beautiful creatures along in their transformation from a tiny little egg into an amazing gorgeous butterfly! This is my second year of raising and releasing Monarchs and I hope I can continue to do so for many years to come! I hope you have enjoyed coming along with me on this journey! 🙂