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Hello! If you've found my blog, thank you so much for checking it out! I'm working on getting it up and running, learning to use WordPress and YouTube etc, and organising the 1,000s of butterfly and caterpillar photos and videos that I've taken over the past year or so (I want to post the best ones!). When I've finished, there will...
Two monarch butterflies linked together for mating To continue the life cycle and produce more of their kind, monarch butterflies need to mate. The female produces the eggs inside her body, but she needs sperm from a male to fertilise them. When the butterflies have found a partner, the male...
A female monarch butterfly with her wings open The butterfly is the adult in the monarch's life cycle. A monarch butterfly has black and orange wings, with white dots along the edges. The female has thicker lines (or veins) on her wings, while the male has thinner lines (veins) and two black spots...
A monarch butterfly beginning to emerge from its chrysalis (eclose) About 24 hours after the chrysalis turned black, the butterfly begins to emerge (or eclose) from the chrysalis. The chrysalis splits open, and the butterfly’s head, feet, and wings emerge. The butterfly holds on tightly to the chrysalis, pulls out its abdomen, and...
A monarch chrysalis with butterfly wings faintly visible beneath its skin The chrysalis (or pupa) of a monarch butterfly is green – the same colour as a swan plant leaf – with a ridge of gold at its top and a series of gold dots at its base. The dots are not really...
A fifth instar caterpillar in its J-shape When the fifth-instar caterpillar has eaten enough (or the food has run out), it is time for the caterpillar to form its chrysalis (pupate). It finds a suitable spot that will allow it to hang, safe from predators. The caterpillar sits still for...
A full-size (fifth instar) monarch caterpillar munching on a leaf The newly hatched monarch caterpillar starts out tiny (2-3mm long), but, over the next nine to 20 days, it will grow to many times that size - up to about 45mm long. By weight, that is 7,000 times its size on hatching! To...
A tiny monarch caterpillar hatching out of its egg When it is ready to hatch, the tiny caterpillar starts to eats its way out of the egg. Once it has made a hole big enough, it crawls out onto the leaf. The newly hatched caterpillar will often first eat the rest of the...
A monarch egg is creamy-white and tiny – about the size of the tip of a pencil. This makes the eggs hard to see on the plant, but you can find them if you look closely. A tiny caterpillar grows inside the egg until it takes up all the...
The female monarch butterfly lays her eggs on the leaves and stems of milkweed plants, such as the swan plant. The swan plant is the main type of milkweed that we have in New Zealand, and this is what monarch caterpillars eat. In America and other places around the world, the caterpillars...
The Life Cycle of the Monarch (Caterpillar Diaries) As humans grow from babies to adults, we look very similar in shape and anatomy (body parts) throughout our lives. Our arms and legs get longer, we grow taller, our faces become more oval than round, and so on, but we are still recognisably human....