other pollinators photographs

A butterfly emerges

A few weeks back, Nan at Shady Grove Farm in Kentucky sent in a photo of a monarch caterpillar preparing to pupate. Unfortunately she missed the transition from caterpillar to pupa, which happens in a flash. However, she kept track of the date, hoping to catch the emergence of the adult butterfly.

The reference she used said pupation would take 9-14 days. When those days came and went, Nan worried that the pupa had died. Still, she kept watching and on day 23 she was rewarded with a new butterfly. Her photos are below.

The caterpillar preparing to pupate on September 12.

The chrysalis on day 11.

The butterfly emerging on day 23.

The empty cocoon.

At nearly the same time, Debbe sent this photo of a monarch caterpillar forming a chrysalis in Delaware. The process is about mid-way through and you can still see the caterpillar in the top half.

Half-formed chrysalis.

Thank you Nan and Debbe for the pics!


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  • Awesome, Debbe! Good shooting AND good timing. I don’t believe many have ever seen this sort of transitional image. You do have amazing timing – wax glands and now this! Hope you catch the emergence. Take care,

  • Rusty, and Sam – Flattered!

    Nikon Coolpix S4000, setting Macro, image mode 4000×3000, Daylight, AF Area mode Center.

    More useful advice from me, Sam – I know waaaaay more about weeds than about cameras, LOL – to get images like this, is to tolerate some honeyvine milkweed, Ampelamus albidus, in your garden or yard. It’s the preferred host milkweed for Monarch females to lay eggs on, and there are dozens a year in my half-acre garden. But keep an eye on them: when mature, they will stomp off to pupate on some taller, stouter weed, as much as ten yards away, so the chrysalis doesn’t drag on the ground.

    Best of luck, and if you get some good images, please share with us thru Rusty. Thanks!

  • Hi! that is so cool! I found a sack and thought it was a spider sack. I tried to take it off and it ripped! Inside it was a half-formed butterfly. Help! Any ideas?