10 Mar

It’s Beautiful!

18 days ago, our caterpillar shed it’s skin and became a chrysalis. The next day, the chrysalis had smoothed out to look like this:

The weather turned cool and rainy and I read that caterpillars/butterflies can overwinter in pupa or chrysalis stage, so I resigned myself for a possible long wait. But then the last two days have been warm. After my walk this morning, I went out to look at the chrysalis and it had changed color.

I wasn’t sure if this was because it was camouflaging itself against the now fuller coleus plant, if it was a dud, or if it was about to hatch. I’d heard the hatching happens relatively quickly, but figured on an hour or two. I went in the house to read my email and when I returned a half hour later, look who had emerged:

I’m sad to have missed the actual “birth” of the butterfly, but I am overjoyed that it made it through it’s complete cycle and once again, nature has worked her magic. I sat impatiently for the butterfly to warm up it’s wings — which was infinitely longer than it took to emerge from it’s cocoon. It flitted to a few sunny spots to warm up some more (not helped by me chasing it with the camera) and then flew off.

Now all that’s left is the empty shell:

18 thoughts on “It’s Beautiful!

  1. When my kids had butterflies, the emerging from the chrysallis looked a lot more traumatic than I had bargained for — liquid that looked like blood was left behind, maybe because they had a lot of orange pigment on their wings. The drying was so slow and lovely, though. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  2. So, your big, strong, macho husband, off at war and saving the world, spent the day showing other hard, tough, ruthless killers your photos of the butterfly.

    Turns out, we’re actually a bunch of softies.

    Very cool story, and stunning photos.

  3. I was wondering what happened to it! Wow, so pretty! That would have been awesome to see the actual birth! I wonder how easily they adjust to being able to fly all of a sudden!

  4. See, I told you. It happens so fast. Glad you were able to see the difference in a “green” crysalis and a “ripe” one. Next time you will know what to expect. I’m happy for you.

  5. How wonderful to be able to be so friendly with your own catipillar and follow it’s transformation to butterfly so closely. My son captured a catipillar, fed and housed it and then also witnessed it’s metamorphasis. Delightful and magical every time!

  6. your photos are amazing! what a wonderful post. really. could be in Nat. geographic, clarity. btw, love love your green quilt w/mushrooms in you last post, fabulous!

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