These never cease to amaze me. Monarch Butterflies are truly one of the greatest creatures on earth.
i happened upon the fellow just before he began to hatch and was able to set up the camera on a three minutes interval.
What is really amazing is how fast the caterpillar forms this tiny, green cocoon. I was watching him fifteen days ago when he did so. I thought I would get an idea of the length of time it took him to build it so I may photograph the process at a later date.
To my surprise he did not build it as do other caterpillars. They pull their body up tight and a gel oozes from their skin and hardens around them. Total time from start to finish is less than a minute.
But this hatching and unfolding of the wings lased about a half hour before he took flight, which gave me plenty of time to record it.
He (Teddy. I named him when he was hunting about on the milkweed for a place to form his cocoon) decided that the milkweed was just too common so he crawled over to my rhubarb plant to find a home. Not the most convenient place for me to work.
Still, I managed to get a tripod in there with the camera hanging upside down.
Teddy turned from an ugly yellow caterpillar with green and black stripes into a beautiful creature that will head south toward Mexico. He has never been there, but he knows the way.