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Monarch – Chrysalis Encased

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)Chrysalis 2
Encased, originally uploaded by eclectic echoes. ©2008 Eric Heupel, Creative Commons, BY-NC-SA

The caterpillar ceased eating on the morning of day 15 post hatch. It migrated to the highest position afforded to it, then spend all day looking for an attachment point and maneuvering into position. Early on day 16 it entered the “J position” and molted the outer skin one last time forming the chrysalis. The caterpillar progressed from a 53.9mm 5th instar to a 25.4mm long chrysalis. Depending on temperature the butterfly will complete metamorphosis and eclosion in about 11 to 15 days.

Looking at the closeups you can see a line dissecting the 8th abdominal sternite which is only seen on females. In the image below the line is circled.

Chrysalis Detail shot showing the line bisecting the 8th abdominal sternite.

Chrysalis Detail shot showing the line bisecting the 8th abdominal sternite. ©2008 Eric Heupel, Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Danaidae (Milkweed Butterflies
Danaus plexippus

Scrabble & Scrabulous Ammo

Emergence from concealment; spec. in Entymology, the emerging of an insect from the pupa case, or of a larva from the egg. From the French word éclosion, the action of éclore, which is to open. —OED

4 Responses to “Monarch – Chrysalis Encased”

  1. 1
    Flickr: SOFennell:

    The patterns and color are exquisite! It makes me think of the Egyptians for some reason, then again, fine jewelry.

  2. 2

    This whole series is incredible!

  3. 3
    Monarch - 1st Instar » Larval Images:

    […] In the pupal stage there is a small visible difference with females having a line dissecting the 8th abdominal sternite. You may need magnifying glass to find it though. With the larval stages (i.e. caterpillar) there […]

  4. 4

    I read that this butterfly only uses milkweed; however, I found one on woolly croton/Croton capitatus which I harvested for identification; between the day I saw the larvae and the day the plant and butterfly were identified, it formed the chrysalis, which looks just like your picture. The ecologist told me to hang the bush fragment somewhere and the butterfly would emerge when ready. I have taken pictures of it, and await the results with interest.

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