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birth of a butterfly

November 7, 2012

we’ve read that the monarch butterflies born this time of year will probably migrate to California, hibernate there for the winter, and awaken to lay their eggs in the spring before they die.  Relatively speaking, they will have a long life compared with the monarchs born in the spring and summer months.


our hearts leaped for joy as the butterfly garden witnessed the metamorphosis of about 2 dozen butterflies, each breaking out of its chrysalis over the past 3 days.


this little photo essay follows one insect who attached her chrysalis to our door frame.  The chrysalis itself is transparent and the insect’s wings begin to form within the final few days.  Coloration is fully visible within the last 24 hours.

Just after this 10am photo, the chrysalis began to split apart from the bottom.  By the time I got back up on the ladder with my camera, she was on her way.


The insects immediately turn and position themselves so their wings are pointed downward.  They need to redistribute the fluid from their bodies into their wings.  Gravity helps.

4 – 8 minutes later the insect’s wings have elongated.

The butterfly siblings all emerge within 60 minutes of each other.  Here are a few of the brothers and sisters on their very first day as an adult insect.


Aren’t they beautiful?  This was a pretty spectacular event.  A first for me to experience the amazement.

I hope their great-grandchildren return to our garden to find a safe haven for a new generation.

God speed lovely butterflies!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Toep permalink
    November 7, 2012 1:11 am

    Wow, is really really amazing! Nature keeps surprising me and I like it!

  2. November 7, 2012 9:35 am

    Diane, I love when you share these photo essay’s!!!!!!

    “Aren’t they beautiful? This was a pretty spectacular event. A first for me to experience the amazement.”

    They’re beyond beautiful, and yes….SPECTACULAR!

    It truly amazes me how you did this over a period of 3 days. It’s like something out of National Geographic!

    LOVE that last shot of the butterfly on the finger!

    “God speed lovely butterflies!”


    Thank you soooooooooooo much for sharing this delightful and touching post!

    X to you and Cristybella!

  3. November 7, 2012 10:43 am

    so cool they waited for the weekend to expose themselves… fun watching w/you! ILY xoxo

  4. November 7, 2012 4:20 pm

    I love your posts about the wildlife in your garden. Please keep them coming. It is our autumn/winter now and they brighten my day x

  5. November 7, 2012 7:45 pm

    Two dozen in three days?!
    Definitely need to change some of the plants around the back yard…..
    Wow that had to be overwhelmingly awesome to be a part of…….new one here and there and everywhere.

    Talk about being gifted an awesome experience!

  6. Christina at I Gotta Create! permalink
    November 18, 2012 7:00 pm

    FANTASTIC! I hear that the milkweed that Monarchs feed on is declining. I considered planting some but found I’m very allergic. 😦
    They are such amazing creatures.

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