Thursday, May 26, 2011

Caterpillar/Butterfly update

I’ve gotten a bit slack on keeping up to date on my caterpillars. So here goes….

On 5.16.11   I had to put in my second Giant Milkweed. I also put in a potted Tropical Milkweed.  They look good…don’t they?


It doesn’t take them long to grow or to eat ….I believe there are 13  just on this part of the plant. You can see they are even eating the seed pods. 004cs1

I had 2 Giant Milkweeds, 2 potted Tropical Milkweed and I had to dig up 4 more Tropical Milkweed plants..put them in pots and then replant them. Each was only in the cage for a day or two.

These are the 2 Tropical and Giant Milkweed plants. They have been outside  since the 24th and have already started to grow new leaves.005cs

I have around 65 in Chrysalis.  11 emerged today.  You can see 3 of them are very clear. You can see the color of the wings. These were among the first ones. If you look closely at the green ones you can start to see some wing outlines.  They will be among the next batch…possibly tomorrow.


You can see some of the stages they go through.  The one at the top has just emerged…it’s wings are much shorter. It hasn’t pumped the fluid from it’s body into them yet. There are 3 that are drying out and one near the lower L that is sort of in between.


This is what the abdomen looks like at first.  Kinda weird…020cs

But once the fluid has been pumped into the wings they fall into place. 

There are 2 hanging side by side. The dark one has just emerged….It’s wings are still folded and damp.


At one point in the video you will see 5 butterflies that have emerged, and by looking closely you can see the difference in their wings. If you watch the first one you see emerge, very closely, you can see it flexing it’s abdomen to pump the fluid into the wings.

Emerging Monarch Butterflies

They did not all go into Chrysalis at the same time….but once they started emerging , all 11 were out within half an hour. 

I had about 100 caterpillars when I started out. I only have 65 Chrysalis. I gave my friend, Debbie, 21 caterpillars and most of them are in Chrysalis.  3 Chrysalis failed, 2 caterpillars drowned, 1 in a “J” fell.    That accounts  for 92. I don’t know where the others went. They may have been eaten by a larger caterpillar.

I had placed 12 on one of the Giant Milkweeds when it was outside. At the time I brought it in…there were none. I quit bringing them in after 100 figuring the rest could make it outside. I only saw one large caterpillar.

I am going to release a few here, a few at Debbie’s, and the rest at another neighbor’s who has Milkweed plants.  That will take care of those that emerged today.


  1. Hungry little buggers for sure. Loved the tour of transformation.

  2. That is SO Cool! I'm amazed to see the progress over only 8 mins time. Don't know how you get anything done as I'd be just sitting and staring at them all day. Thank you for sharing this.

    I'm finally able to watch videos again, so I may seem over excited.

  3. Good for you, Carol. We need all the help we can get with the butterfly populations. Unfortunately, around here, milkweed that used to be prolific in the fields farmers used for pasture are now put into grains and milkweed is one of the first plants to go.

  4. Wow. That's nifty. Thank you for the thorough (and fascinating) documentation.


Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate the time you take to make a comment......If you ask a question, I will try to answer it here.