Monday, June 24, 2013
Monarch Caterpillar Changes to Chrysalis
The next picture shows how much change has happenned in 18 hours.
There is a lot of small rippeling movement here through the body as the change begins inside the skin.
Within an hour of the antennae going limp the caterpillar will straighten down out of the "J" position.
Within seconds of these two things happenning the skin will begin to split as can be seen in the next image.
For some reason the post will not let me write alongside the next picture, but as the skin begins to split the new chrysalis expands pushing the skin up the body.
As the new chrysalis emerges the skin is forced higher up toward the button that is holding everything.
The new chrysalis is wiggling back and forth quite a bit at this time
You can see the black probe (my name for this, I'm sure there is a more proper name) has just emerged from under the skin here. It is at the top right of the new chrysalis.
I cropped and enlarged this portion of the image below.
Here you can see the probe easier, and the delicate hold that the old skin still has on the silk button.
Here the probe has pushed itself onto the silk button. the new chrysalis wiggles in circles here to get the probe attached securely.
The probe is attached now, and the chrysalis continues to wiggle and releases its hold to the old skin, which causes the old skin to fall off, and makes a more secure connection for the probe.
This whole process took only about 2 minutes but must take a lot of energy for the chrysalis. The spiracle breathing holes, the little horizontal slits, one on each segment of the abdoman, were opening and closing repeatedly while I was taking these pictures. Heavy breathing!
It is amazing to see how the future butterfly wings and antennae are already formed and can be seen so clearly.
This on what was a walking eating caterpillar 24 hours earlier
The new chrysalis begins to get shorter and fatter. It needs to work quickly before its new skin begins to harden. So it wiggles and moves the wings toward the silk button.
More wiggling, but the definition of the wings and antennae is already beginning to flatten out after only 15 minutes.
Here is the chrysalis after only one hour. It has stopped wiggling now, and the skin is taking on a hard shell like appearance.
Another post in a few days will show how the chrysalis changes with time. But since I just took these pictures, we will all have to wait to see how it looks.
Still, it already is a beautiful emerald jewel like sculpture. But it beathes.