12 Jan Monarch Butterfly Emerging from Chrysalis on Succulcent – Awesome!
Watch as a monarch butterfly emerges (ecloses in scientific terms) from the chrysalis the caterpillar made on a succulent!
https://youtu.be/bA0nWLBuYwE Stunning, awing and beautiful to watch, all in real-time.
What happens when it emerges (ecloses)?
The monarch butterfly emerges after 2 weeks in the chrysalis.
The chrysalis is a bright green with a gold rim near the top until about 2 days before it is going to emerge. Then, the chrysalis thins and becomes clear, so the butterfly can break out. Because it is clear, the chrysalis will look black and orange the day the monarch is going to emerge – you are seeing the monarch butterfly inside!
When it first emerges, the monarch butterfly hangs upside down, holding onto its chrysalis or plant with its new long legs. The butterfly is very small, wings curled up, wet with a very bulbous black body. Within the first 10 minutes, a healthy butterfly’s wings will elongate and fill with the meconium fluid that the bulbous body pumps into the veins of the wings. Upon first seeing a newly eclosed monarch, it appears it is malformed, but watch it for 10 minutes and be amazed and delighted as the wings fill out. This is an amazing moment to observe in the life cycle of a butterfly.
The butterfly must hang upside down for 2 to 4 hours for the wings to form and harden before it will be ready to fly. During that time, it will also uncurl and curl its proboscis (feeding tube) like a party favor horn, again and again. It does this because the proboscis is in 2 halves at the time the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. It must fit the grooves of the 2 halves together to form a perfect tube and harden so it will be able to suck nectar from flowers throughout its 3 to 6 weeks as a butterfly.
If a butterfly falls within the first hour, it may damage a wing and it will harden malformed. Such a butterfly will not be able to fly and drink nectar and will likely die in 2 to 4 dies from starvation. If it does not succeed at forming a proper proboscis while hanging upside down, it will again likely die from starvation in 2 to 4 dies as it will not be able to drink nectar.
Clearly, the 2 to 4 hours after emerging from the chrysalis are a vulnerable and critical time for monarch butterflies. One very windy day, I found a just-newly eclosed monarch barely able to hold onto its chrysalis, and, in fact, most likely to fall and be disabled. I stuck my finger near its feet, and they grabbed onto my finger quite eagerly and easily. I then found a sturdy plant branch in a safe, unwind place and place the newborn on my finger right next to it, coaxing it to move its feet onto the plant branch. It did and hung safely for 2 to 4 hours, hardening its wings, preparing its proboscis and flitting off into the sunset! That day I became a Monarch Midwife 😊