Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Favorite Time of Year! MONARCHS!

The kids and I have done this for 4 years now. We raise monarch caterpillars from eggs all the way through the whole process until they take first flight as butterflies! It's such a fun and magical experience. We released our first 2 males yesterday afternoon. I thought I would share our first round of the season with you all! :)

The little white dot on the underside of the Milkweed leaf is a Monarch Egg.

This little guy is approx. 2 days old.

Approx. 10 days after 'birth' they turn into this guy after molting an average of 5 times.

7 hanging chrysalis. They spin a 'silk' with their bottoms and hang in a 'J' shape overnight. In the morning, around 7-8am they create their chrysalis. They have a very obvious clock schedule.

Close up...they turn black/see through the morning they will open. They have always opened around 9-10am. EVERYTIME! Notice the beautiful gold line on the green ones.

My oldest son holding MALE #1. See the 2 black dots on his bottom wings? Boys have dots. Girls no dots.

My daughter holding MALE #2.

Both of the boys on a coleus plant. The one on the right took first flight seconds after the picture was taken. The other took about another 5-10 minutes for his wings to warm in the sun.

The old 10 gallon aquarium sits in the middle of our dinner table. We watch the caterpillars muncha, muncha, muncha while we do the same. It's always a 'hole' when the season ends and I remove the tank from our table.

In the 4 years, I have witnessed:
  1. A Monarch butterfly laying her eggs.
  2. A caterpillar emerging from it's egg (size of a pin head).
  3. A caterpillar molting.
  4. A caterpillar eating more leaves in one day than you can imagine!
  5. A caterpillar spinning it's silk.
  6. A caterpillar (in seconds) creating it's chrysalis.
  7. A monarch emerging from it's chrysalis.
  8. At least 40 monarchs taking first flight.
  9. One time we were able to release 4 butterflies at the same time! All emerged the same morning! That was awesome!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoying some of God's Beauty with us!


Rhonda Miller said...

Wow, this is great. This would be something to witness in person. TFS.

Betty Benton said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us --- how wonderful to be able to watch this truly remarkable process!

MaxineD said...

I have never had Monarchs inside to be able to observe them so closely, and to know they keep a close schedule... thank you for sharing this post - our God is so good, and his design is amazing!!

Lori said...

Wow, thanks, what a beautiful experience! How can you not believe in miracles?

Rufus said...

What a great experience to share with your kids! Thanks for the facts and for the pictures. Love butterflies!