How to Raise a Monarch Butterfly
If you do not read Parts I, II and III of How to Raise a Butterfly, I cannot be held responsible for what may happen to you. I can't say for sure, but you may become pregnant. Or grow warts. One of the two anyway.
O.K.! Now that you're all caught up we can continue on.
How to Raise a Butterfly Part IV
Once your caterpillar has been hanging in the shape of a "J" for between 12 - 24 hours it'll decide it's time to become a chrysalis. In my climate I've found 12 hours is usually how long it takes. (the warmer the weather, the quicker your caterpillar will grow, pupate and emerge)
You'll know it's only a minute or two away from becoming a chrysalis when it's antennae go from fairly sturdy looking to completely limp. Like all the life has drained out of them.
They'll look how you feel after having coffee with that friend you swore you'd never have coffee with again because they NEVER shut up.
So the antennae go completely limp and then the caterpillar loses it's "J" formation and hangs straight down.
And then within seconds this happens ...
Ahem .. YES ... that is its skin splitting open to reveal no guts, no innards, no tiny caterpillar brain ... but a chrysalis. INSIDE ITS OWN SKIN!!!
Notice it's antennae shedding off with the skin?
As the skin splits, the caterpillar starts to convulse to help the skin come off.
The newly emerged chrysalis is still soft and ... um ... unfortunate looking. Sort of reminiscent of ... well, it's icky.
Over the next hour or so the chrysalis settles down and starts to shrink and firm up a bit.
The chrysalis is now a dark jade colour with shocking metallic beads along the back and front of it. A chrysalis could have toured with the King Tut exhibit. Easily. 'Cause it's so shiny gold.
And now you wait. For 10 days ... you wait. Perhaps you could invite that friend over for coffee to kill some time.
Coming up tomorrow in the final post in the series - the birth of a butterfly. Emerging from the chrysalis and sending it out into the world. That's Part V
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