Monarch Butterflies

The first butterfly

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August 14, 2004 - the chrysalis

Kathleen said that the caterpillar attached herself to the bottom of a milkweed leaf. She was concerned that the leaf would dry and trap her, so she carefully trimmed the leaf away and taped the center rib to a popsicle stick.

I found a small glass fish bowl with an opening of a size that would hold the stick and watched and waited.

butterfly visible inside chrysalis

August 19, 2004, 9:09 am - the chrysalis was dark when I got up in the morning with the butterfly's wings visible inside.

newly emerged

August 19, 2004, 10:35 am - Here she has just emerged, her wings are still soft and limp and her abdomen is distended. She hung from the covering on the opening of the fish bowl and made pumping motions periodically expelled some fluid as her wings took shape and began to harden.

butterfly hanging from top of container

By 1 PM her wings had expanded.

Something clicked, duh, use the macro setting on the digital camera to take movies! Watch her flex her wings - AVI (3.3 MB raw file), MOV (2.8 MB), MOV (0.2 MB)

Newly emerged female monarch

I waited until the next day so that her wings had time to fully harden.

On August 20 I met Eldeen on the bike path by the Lagoon and we turned her loose in the park near McKinley Marina. There are several stands of milkweed plants by the lagoon, so thought that would give her the best chance.