Probably the most familiar of butterflies around here, is the monarch. For the last few years I have reared numerous monarchs to adulthood. If I'm lucky, I will collect them as eggs.
The larvae go through five stages or instars in which they shed their old skin for a new larger one. In the photo below, the larvae on the right has just shed its skin.
They grow rapidly and go through a lot of milkweed. Finally there comes a day when they stop eating and look for a spot to hang and go into the chrysalis stage. The one below found a safe spot under the window.
In the past when I had more free time, I used to raise as many monarchs as I could find.
About a couple weeks later, the adult butterfly becomes clearly visible inside the chrysalis. This is a sign that it should be hatching within the next 24 hours.
When they hatch, I let them hang to allow their wings to pump with fluid and expand.
Last year we found this unique caterpillar on a small english walnut tree.
It's wings were still expanding when I took the photos.
|You can tell this is a male from the large feathery antennae.|
I'll conclude with a hairstreak feeding on milkweed nectar.
|Striped Hairstreak. Thanks to those who helped me confirm my identification.|