A few summers ago I found this beautiful monarch “larvae” in the vegetable garden on a milkweed I had purposefully weeded around. Obviously a caterpillar can’t take a selfie, so what’s a girl to do?
The obvious answer? Pose it for some awesome photos with a friend, Sheri Bergman, behind the camera.
This year, I brought in a monarch caterpillar and it metamorphosed overnight into this gorgeous jeweled chrysalis (I missed the whole thing).
I also missed the totally cool nearly-butterfly phase, but after relocating the chrysalis outside, here’s what I found just a few days ago. I had clearly JUST missed the hatching as well as it pumping up its new wings.
Observing this process, I can’t help but think of the many different metamorphoses we all pass through in a lifetime. It seems unlikely that the caterpillar knows it will someday have wings, but it’s clearly trusting the process and moving through it. Life lesson in there…
OK, OK… I can’t resist one more lesson!
Did you know only 1-3% of monarch caterpillars ever become a butterfly? Birds, bugs and other predators are to blame, and when you factor in pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change and other challenges, the result is a 90% loss of monarchs in the past year. All of this is a strong argument for weeding around the milkweed plants, and even for bringing in monarch caterpillars for the few weeks it takes for them to grow big enough to form a chrysalis. Plus it’s a fascinating experience! For more details, and for some cool videos of a monarch caterpillar hatching from its egg AND a monarch emerging from its chrysalis, check out The Monarch Project.
“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she had always been. But she had wings.” Dean Jackson
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