Hatching butterflies

Some pretty amazing things have been happening around here lately. Our neighbor asked us to adopt some of his monarch butterfly chrysalises that were growing on plants against the outside of his house. He was having his house painted and the plants would have to be moved, so to protect the forming butterflies, he removed the twigs and branches that had chrysalises attached, took them into his house for safe keeping, and gave us some to us to look after too.

He just told us to set them on the side over pots, and to make sure the chrysalises were away from the edges of the containers so that when the butterflies hatched, their wings would not touch.

Once a chrysalis looks like it’s ready to hatch, the butterfly seems to emerge very quickly. We only managed to witness one actual hatching out of about 6 or 7 chrysalises we had, despite studying each chrysalises extremely thoroughly every 30 mins or so.

Here’s some photos I took. Their bodies are huge and their wings are very small when they first hatch. It’s almost like they pump their wings up and after a minute or two they are fully grown.

This is a female. We called her Rosie. You can tell she’s female by the lack of dots on her hind wings. Below is a picture of a male, we called William, for comparison. Notice the two obvious black dots on his wings. 

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