Monarch butterfly


Development stages of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) in photos

Hello dear reader,

The following photos were made over many months while watching the Monarch butterflies in the home biotope. These are photos made in the free nature! Even if it means that I was not yet able to photograph the actual hatching of the butterflies. Time will come - hopefully with some patience and luck , because it´s not that easy to witness this secret procedure successfully. So I watched several times this secret process, but the animals were not able to fulfill, because they died before. In January it simply was too cold and as the butterfly experts told me, it happens quite frequently, that the butterflies are malformed and are not able to unfold their wings. - But I think that the photo series so far gives a good insight in the stages of life of the monarch butterfly!

After mating

the female is laying its eggs into the Asclepias:

Here on of the tiny little eggs, photographed with the close-up lenses:

Out of the egg a caterpillar hatches. The photo shows a rather big one:

If the nectar of the Asclepias is serving the adult animals as food, so

the caterpillars eat one leaf after the other from this plant:

Are the caterpillars big enough the pupation takes place. Here is to be seen how the caterpillar discharges somewhat with which she will hang herself on the plants leaf:

The pupation is an extremely fascinating process, because the big caterpillar is sticking lifeless on a leaf, than its shaking herself fiercely and like magic is the animal suddenly surrounded by a cocoon.

Close-ups of the cocoon hanging on the plant leaf:

Close-ups of the new cocoon:

Continuation on page 2

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All photos ©copyright by Birgit Kremer
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translation by Brit Haagna