June 2013: Metamorphosis of a Monarch Butterfly

1 catapillerFriday, June 14:
Several ravenously hungry, black-yellow-white striped caterpillars have been devouring the Milkweed plant in my backyard for several weeks.  (wish I had a better photo)

Saturday, June 15: One of  the caterpillars is on the move, going up and down a wood post, then dangerously across the top railing and back again, looking for the perfect place to hang its cocoon.  Finally!  green cocoonThis place is tucked away safe from the wind and birds.  The other caterpillar attached to the underside of a clay fountain.

Sunday, June 16:  The morph process has begun.  First the caterpillar hooks on with silken threads and hangs its body in the shape of the letter “J”.  (I forgot to take pictures.)

Monday, June 17:  The “J” has turned into a green cocoon with a tiny row of gold specks partially around its shape with two more gold buttons off to one side.

From June 18 to Saturday June 29:  the green cocoon hangs there.  All the magic is happening inside.  The cocoon is still subject to predators at this time: namely flies and spiders.  Happily my two cocoons survive to their “Birth” day.

Sunday, June 30:  the cocoon looks black.  Actually, what is happening is that the skin of the cocoon is thinning and the butterfly begins to show cocoon  The emerging process takes about an hour.  Blacker, blacker, blacker, burst: the shell splits open.emerge 1  And a Monarch butterfly emerges with the characteristic orange and black patterned wings with dots of white.  It takes about an hour for the wings to fully unfold and dry.  Then flight: fanciful flutters.100_2300I raised two Monarch butterflies, well, helped Mother Nature do her thing!
How cool is that!

Metamorphosis:  Change from one form to another, embryo to adult stage; transformation; a striking change of appearance, character, form.

I’m going through my own metamorphosis, but must still be in the cocoon stage because it doesn’t make sense yet.


About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative with a diverse range of interests in writing and painting. She currently is revising a middle grade novel, and author and illustrating a picture story book. She is an active member of SCBWI, Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Linda has a body of paintings, which form the foundation of her artistic development. This work can be viewed on her website: Her recent illustrations are an outgrowth of the style she developed in these paintings. Another passion is sculpture. Linda often uses her figures as models for her art. Linda's blog is eclectic and journeys wherever her muse guides her attention. Her blog address is: Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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10 Responses to Metamorphosis

  1. marilynscottwaters says:

    That is very cool! And you are growing wings!

    • I like the image of growing wings….I like the analogy of the pebble in the lake with the ripples moving outward, except that my circles are reversed and the circles are moving inward. My ideas are stronger and more focused, and my determination multiplied, and my vision, clearer and obtainable. Not so bad.


  2. megtraveling says:

    It was a real life science project (and much more interesting)!

    • To see the miracle happen right in my backyard and have the butterfly come back for short visits for a day or two before moving on…definitely full of life and hope!


  3. Wow! What a fascinating thing to experience. 🙂

    • A year ago my son gave me a milkweed plant which is the one that attracts and feeds those Monarch caterpillars. It is possible to attract life to your yard or patio with the right plants. Very magical experience!!


  4. Cindy says:

    What a delight to witness – thanks for sharing the process!

    • Joy! From something low cost and easy to take care of and I’ve had months of hoping and waiting. My plant grew four feet and no caterpillars, until my daughter gave me some off of her plant. This has been a shared experience!


  5. Fascinating process. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the entire cycle, myself. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your metamorphosis! 🙂

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