DP Photo Challenge: the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning

The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Close-up shot of Monarch butterfly chrysalis hanging from cable tie against black background. The wings are already visible as the chrysalis shell becomes translucent, indicating that emergence is imminent. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Monarch butterfly almost ready to emerge from chrysalis. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It is a special privilege to observe nature at work. Over this past summer, the milkweed that the Big T and I planted attracted record numbers of monarch butterflies. When it became clear that most of the caterpillars were falling prey to wasps and praying manti, the Big T built a butterfly sanctuary. This meant that not only did dozens of caterpillars survive to emerge as viable butterflies, but that we had ring-side seats to one of nature’s most beautiful shows.

We watched and documented the transition from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly — right up to the moment our “babies” flew away for their winter hibernation.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge | Delta


Chrysalis update: a happy ending, we think?

No news is good news, right? The shell was empty when we got home from the beach. In age: Su Leslie, 2017

I had such high hopes of watching our latest chrysalis emerge, but when we got home from the beach yesterday, the shell was empty. I’m taking this as a sign the butterfly successfully emerged. The process was much faster than with the last hatchling, which I think might also be a good sign. 

So sadly, no video of  an emerging butterfly, but hopefully one more Monarch to thrive and breed.

By way of compensation, here are a couple of shots of the first hatchling; which somehow survived the chrysalis stage glued to a matchstick, held in place with a bulldog clip, attached to a nail in a piece of wood. 

Hatchling one; rescued from the ground, and held in place with glue and the Big T’s ingenuity.Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

Testing its wings. Monarch butterfly rescue hatchling #1. Image: Su Leslie, 2016