Friday, February 22, 2013

Monarch Caterpillar pupating 2.22.13

Before we went on our last boating trip on the St Johns River, I found 8 tiny hatchlings. I put them and half a dozen plants in the Butterfly House.

When we got back they were about an inch long.  It only took a few more days and they were this size. It doesn’t take long for them to eat all the leaves. There are 11 in this picture so there must have been a few eggs on the plants when I put them in.


A few days later …… 6 went to the top. By the next morning they were in “J”s. I think it takes about 24 hrs for them to get to the pupating stage. You can see 1 in Chrysalis and 5 more Js. The other 4 have just gone up and will need to make a web to suspend themselves from.


Look at this one….skin is so tight it looks like it’s wearing a rubber suit.


I only found 2 Queen caterpillars. This is one…it’s only about 3/4 inch long. The other is about half that. Similar colors…different pattern and extra feelers.


I have a video below on this caterpillar. Notice how the feelers still have a lot of curve and shape to them, but starting to show some “wilt” in the right one. That is a sign they are going to pupate. They will eventually hang down and start to get wrinkled.


I had my camera all set up and started videoing. Just as it got to this point my batteries went dead…I stuck them in the charger for a few minutes and got it up and running.  This is the last picture I took before switching back to video. Notice the feelers.

You can see the difference between the two in the next picture. Theirs still have a lot of shape and will be a few hours more.


I took this picture out of the video. It had just shed it’s skin and was still gyrating.


Same one a few hours later…..isn’t it beautiful?  What a difference. I never realized it before…but you can actually see lines like there will be  in the wings.


The 6  “J”s are now in Chrysalis form and 9 more caterpillars have gone to the top.  There are 3 more big enough to go up this afternoon or tomorrow morning. That only leaves about 20 of various size to keep on eating.

Enjoy the video. No mater how many times I get to watch them….it still amazes me.


  1. Wow, that was really neat to watch. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This makes me want to try it. Nature is truly amazing! Thank you so much for your patience in videotaping.

    1. a friend gave me 2 free milkweed plants and that started it all...I always end up buying plants...lots of plants...I've lots of seedlings..but they wont be ready for awhile. But would love collecting a few caterpillars and watching the process...just besure you have access to lots of plants. The tropical milkweed in FL doesn't grow wild like milkweed in the N.


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