Monarch Hatching

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Titans

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Yesterday we watched a Monarch hatch- very cool. The chrysalis was initially green with golden spots. It eventually turned black and it became more and more translucent towards the end. Late in the afternoon the sun warmed up the chrysalis and it opened up very quickly in just 1 min!

We were lucky to watch the big moment:

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A few of my crappy iphone shots:
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Back to Rick's camera:
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It climbed a little higher, continued to let the wings dry all night and then it flew off this morning. It was wonderful to watch :).
 

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wsp_scott

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Initially green... then turned black... late afternoon hatched

Was all this over just one morning/afternoon? or had you been watching the cocoon and noticed it changing colors? Were there others around or just this one?

Nice photos
 

Janice

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Gorgeous photos! As someone who has reared many monarchs with my students and for fun on my own, I can say that watching the adult eclose (emerge/hatch) is always thrilling, and watching the metamorphosis from J into chrysalis is awe-inspiring as well. However, I have never seen this happen in the wild - only in special butterfly enclosures into which I have brought eggs or caterpillars found outside on milkweed. Had you noticed the chrysalis outside and kept an eye on it as its time was drawing near? So exciting!
 

Titans

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@wsp_scott : It takes weeks. About 5 days for the eggs. Then two weeks for the caterpillars to get big. They curl into a J and form a green chrysalis with golden spots, see photos below. After about additional 10 days the chrysalis gets black and finally almost transparent. We on and off checked on the chrysalis outside on our porch for 7 hours(!) before the big event where the butterfly emerged in just a minute (actually 70 sec). We were both working on outside projects and we assumed we would miss this quick final event. We got lucky.

@Janice :
We have lots of milkweed and monarchs on our property. But yesterday we received one black chrysalis, which my neighbor found in her backyard on a vine. She removed the vine with the chrysalis attached and placed the vine in a bucket with water for the past week. The bucket with the vine moved to our backyard yesterday, as a thank you for babysitting an additional 15 other monarchs in various stages over the past weekend. She found 15 eggs, kept those in a butterfly tent on her porch and they are in various stages now, some already tagged and released. She has 3 kids, but it’s really the mom’s project!

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Stephanie B

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Way cool! Blake and I helped water milkweed seedlings a couple years ago in Tonto NF, but we weren’t there to see any hatches.
 

Titans

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Way cool! Blake and I helped water milkweed seedlings a couple years ago in Tonto NF, but we weren’t there to see any hatches.
Awesome! The common milkweed we have on the property is a very agressive spreader. It spreads far out via rhizomes and the seed pods spread a ton of fluffy seeds everywhere, so milkweed caterpillars are pretty happy here. We also planted a ton of flowers favored by the butterflies. Their favorite nectar plants here are the butterfly bush and "tall Verbena"- Verbena Bonariensis.

My neighbor texted me daily to get up-dated about the Monarchs last week-end. She was bummed out, because she kept missing the hatching moment itself. The idea was for Rick to set up a time-lapse this week. He has thousands of photos of just the chrysalis, I think it was set for a photo every 5 sec and it went all day. In the late afternoon the sun eventually hit the chrysalis and Rick said, I bet it might happen soon, so we were right there when it happened.
 

Titans

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You can tag butterflies??
Yah.... we saw a tagged Monarch many years ago, I believe in a botanical garden in Montreal. It looks like a miniture version of those stickers on fruit in the grocery store. My neighbor purchased a Monarch Watch tagging kit and she is submitting the data. My babysitting duties only included cleaning up poop daily and providing the caterpillars with fresh milkweed plants . Sorry- but I can't get myself to place my fingers on such a beautiful butterfly, so we just let it fly and we didn't touch it.

 

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Jackson

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Yah.... we saw a tagged Monarch many years ago, I believe in a botanical garden in Montreal. It looks like a miniture version of those stickers on fruit in the grocery store. My neighbor purchased a Monarch Watch tagging kit and she is submitting the data. My babysitting duties only included cleaning up poop daily and providing the caterpillars with fresh milkweed plants . Sorry- but I can't get myself to place my fingers on such a beautiful butterfly, so we just let it fly and we didn't touch it.

Very cool! I had no idea. I'd be worried to touch one as well--I was always told (seemingly incorrectly though?) that touching their wings would kill them because they wouldn't be able to fly anymore. Hard to shake that notion when dealing with such a delicate creature.
 

Janice

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I recognize that white-mesh-with-green-trim container. :)

Since my students and I had the pleasure of seeing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis yesterday morning and then releasing it later in the day, I showed them your terrific photos today. They loved seeing them!

I've also never tagged them, but I have touched the butterflies when helping them leave the container. If you gently put your hand next to them, they'll crawl onto your fingers and then you can help transport them to the outside world. They're so beautiful!
 

Titans

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I recognize that white-mesh-with-green-trim container. :)

Since my students and I had the pleasure of seeing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis yesterday morning and then releasing it later in the day, I showed them your terrific photos today. They loved seeing them!

I've also never tagged them, but I have touched the butterflies when helping them leave the container. If you gently put your hand next to them, they'll crawl onto your fingers and then you can help transport them to the outside world. They're so beautiful!
Awesome, it's such a great project for kids, Im glad they liked the photos!
My neighbor just up-dated me: so far she got 7 butterflies (6 tagged + 1 un-tagged up here), plus 16 more chrysalis hanging and another 5 caterpillars still eating milkweed. That's a lot of Monarchs :)
 

Janice

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Awesome, it's such a great project for kids, Im glad they liked the photos!
My neighbor just up-dated me: so far she got 7 butterflies (6 tagged + 1 un-tagged up here), plus 16 more chrysalis hanging and another 5 caterpillars still eating milkweed. That's a lot of Monarchs :)
Terrific! Where do you live? I'm in Michigan. My neighbors and friends (as well as students and colleagues) have been excited about increased monarch sightings. :)
 

Titans

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Terrific! Where do you live? I'm in Michigan. My neighbors and friends (as well as students and colleagues) have been excited about increased monarch sightings. :)
It seems like we always had lots of Monarchs, especially late summer in upstate NY. Early October we see some super sized ones, perhaps the so called "Super Monarchs", the ones that travel to Mexico. We are super excited about the huge increase and frequent sightings of Bald Eagles locally, that's a big change from 2 decades ago. Right now the hummingbirds are funny, chasing each other, buzzing by us, spiraling up in the air beak to beak, etc....
 

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