Monarch Butterflies.

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Soggy Bottom Ranch

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Has anyone on here ever watched the life cycle of a monarch butterfly? Someone on another forum I frequent gave me the idea for this, and I went out an collected monarchs in the caterpillar stage from my own front yard. They live on milkweed plants, and as I understand, monarch populations are declining. I thought it would be interesting to watch the process for myself. I found all caterpillars, and by accident one little egg on some plant I had picked specifically for feeding. All of them went into chrysalis fairly quickly, except the one that was an egg, it was pretty tiny, and is still in caterpillar stage.

So far, 4 butterflies have emerged. They are supposed to hang from their chrysalis to dry and unfold their wings, and two of the four did not do this, their wings never unfolded the way they should. We released 2 full grown butterflies on friday, 2 more emerged today, and 2 more are ready to emerge from their chrysalis on monday so we'll be releasing 4 adults on monday! I have 5 more still in chrysalis stage that should be emerging over the next 3-4 days.

Monarch Butterflies.

This is one of the adults hanging after drying and unfolding it's wings. There is a caterpiller in chrysalis form in the back (green), and 4 grey chrysalis where adults have already emerged from.









It was close to sunset, and one of my lens limitations is slow autofocus in reduced lighting, so by the time it focused, the little guy was gone, and I got Dave's hand. But, blurry or not, he's off into the big wide world.........and the big oak woods!


 

crponies

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Very neat! It looks like a fun thing to observe. I remember catching caterpillars when I was little and putting them into a Happy Meal box till they had made their chrysalis and hatched. I always enjoyed that.
 

bluetaterbaby

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What a wonderful thing to do! The photography is great! Thanks so much for sharing!

God bless,

Joan
 

horseplay

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When I was little we use to do this, it was so neat to see watch them transform. I hadn't thought about it until reading this but years ago there were all kinds of Monarchs but I rarely see them now.
 

anoki

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I have been doing this since I was 'knee high to a grasshopper'!!


And now that there are little kids around (neices & nephews) we are starting all over again!
I'm getting pretty good at finding the tiniest of caterpillars!
I think we've had about 6 or 7 this year. Even found a black swallow tail caterpillar on our carrots in the garden this year, but I'm not sure it survived after it changed.....

Those are beautiful pictures!!!!

~kathryn
 

Shari

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That is incredible! I love butterflys and you took some really good photos!
 

AppyLover2

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What a neat thing to do. Makes me want to go out and see if I can find any.

Has anyone ever seen a migration of Monarch's? We (my family and I) saw one when I was 9 or 10. It was almost a lifetime ago but it's something I'll never forget. Went outside one morning and there were several...then there were more and more....before it was over there seemed to be hundreds if not thousands. Beautiful sight! One I'd love to experience again.
 

Sterling

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Oh these are beautiful pictures!! Thank yo for sharing them with us. Monarchs are my favorite butterfly...lol...just ask Liz, (Hosscrazy).

What a neat thing to do. Makes me want to go out and see if I can find any.
Has anyone ever seen a migration of Monarch's?
Yes, when I lived in CA I witnessed it one year. It was awesome! Like being in a fairy land.... I just stood in the middle and held out my hands it was Awesome!!!
 

Miniv

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That is just so COOL!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!!!!!!!
 

Soggy Bottom Ranch

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You are very welcome!
We released two more today, we were hoping for four, but for some reason two of them just couldn't get their wings unfolded the way they should.
 

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