Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monarch Update.

So, i just wanted to give a quick update on our caterpillars. Last week we found monarch caterpillars, and brought them home to raise. It is really easy and rewarding to raise monarch caterpillars. i posted about it here. The kids have been watching the caterpillars daily, amazed on how rapidly they are growing. My boy was the first to notice that our largest caterpillar formed a "J" on Friday night.

About 12-24 hours after the caterpillar goes into the "J" position, the caterpillar straightens out and the antennae become limp, it will then shed it's skin a final time.

It begins to puff up, and his skin begins to split.

Then he starts to wiggle and dance to remove the old skin.

The skin shrivels until it falls off, underneath the caterpillars new skin is soft and pale green.

Now he begins to constrict until it takes on the familiar chrysalis shape.

Now he rests and his skin will begin to harden. The yellow stripes will fade, and the chrysalis will become smooth.

After it hardens, gold dots and a beautiful golden “crown” appear on it. The word "chrysalis" means 'object of gold.' This is actually how the Monarch got their name. American colonists noticed this adornment, which looked like the crown of a king.

Although we raise monarchs every years, it is never any less exciting to see them transform. The kids are now asking every day when will our chrysalis emerge. You can visit these sites for more information on how to raise monarch caterpillars. Monarch Watch and Save The Monarch have lots of great info about raising Monarchs. Butterfly School has info about raising many other types of caterpillars.
In about 10-14 days you can expect to see a post on our butterflies emerging!!

"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked pensively.
"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
Trina Paulus


  1. Oh! That is incredible! My sister, who lives in FL, loves to raise monarch caterpillars. I am going to tell her about your blog and send her the link to this awesome post! :)

  2. How beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  3. is there a reason why you only pick up monarchs?

  4. Hyla, monarchs are easiest to find and raise. We have also raised a black swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary and painted ladies. We do not find the other caterpillars as often though.

  5. Great info! We raise them every year too, but this year have found none! Very disheartening~