Monday, June 10, 2013
Monarch Butterfly Egg Hatching
While I was photographing it the baby caterpillar could be seen moving around inside the egg!
At almost exactly 96 hours from being laid, the little caterpillar began chewing a hole in the top part of the egg, as can be seen in the picture below.
In the picture below the caterpillar sticks its head out for a quick first view of the world.
In the following pictures below, the caterpillar leaves the egg completely.
It took the caterpillar less than one minute to leave the egg, once it decided it was time to go.
I think the caterpillar is thinking hard here trying to figure out how to make the other legs work.
The egg is only one millimeter wide, so the newly hatching caterpillar, measured with a ruler, was exactly 3 millimeters long.
The beginnings of the 4 black "antennae" can be seen on the caterpillar's back. Two in front and two in back. These will become tentacles and function as sense organs but not actual antennae.
All three eggs I was watching hatched within an hour of each other, but the ones outside on the plants took two more days, so colder temperatures must make a difference in how fast the eggs hatch.
48 hours old in the picture below and the black and yellow and white bands are beginning to show. And much larger holes where it has been eating.
At 48 hours the caterpillar is now 6 millimeters long, twice as long as at hatching.