Neighbor Don, or “The Dude” as we shall now call him, brought us over a large monarch caterpillar last week. It spent about 5 days eating milkweed and exploring a homemade habitat made from a cardboard box, wooden skewers and netting made by by 9 year old.
Then, for about 2 days, it hung in this “J” position you see here in the first photo. After successfully catching a hatching butterfly on camera a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to catch the metamorphosis into a chrysalis, so yesterday I set my alarm to remind me to check on it every 5 minutes.
Sure enough, I caught the whole weirdly wonderful process on camera. For lack of any technical terminology (I am not a scientist) I can tell you that it really looked like a miniature, slimy, green, alien brain breaking through the skin of a caterpillar and wriggling around. It had no eyes, head, legs or arms, but once the caterpillar skin was completely shed, the chrysalis did a strange spinning and very deliberate dance, until finally hardening and becoming immovable. There, I told you I’m not a scientist. I’ll just let the photos do the talking, shall I?