Monarch Butterfly; Danaus plexippus

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Monarch ButterflyDanaus plexippus
Monarch Egg
Monarch hatchling eats its eggshell
A Monarch hatchling eats a fresh Monarch egg.
A Monarch hatchling eats a fresh Monarch egg.
Monarch hatchling eats its eggshell
A hatchling Monarch eats an un-hatched egg after eating its own egg shell. Of course, the egg will not hatch!
The whole of a caterpillar's life
is eating milkweed leaves and flowers.
Early morning dew covers a caterpillar.


A caterpillar's skin never grows. As the caterpillar grows, it must molt, or shed its skin, or it will die.


After growing for two to three weeks,the caterpillar pupates into a chrysalis.

A Monarch caterpillar eats the blooms of milkweed.
Sometimes unusual caterpillars or adults turn up!
This one is very white compared to normal.
With good eyesight or a magnifying glass, you can
tell a male from a female chrysalis.
The line in the circle indicates this chrysalis is a female.
With good eyesight or a magnifying glass, you can
tell a male from a female chrysalis.
The dot instead of a line in the circle
indicates this chrysalis is a male.
The chrysalis on the left is normal.
The chrysalis on the right pupated in a low space and did not have room to form properly.
In rare instances, caterpillars will pupate improperly.
This chrysalis still has the head capsule attached.
Before emerging, a chrysalis will become transparent showing the butterfly inside.
The outer skin will be transparent like plastic wrap.
A very short while before emerging, the 'plastic wrap'
look becomes a 'wax paper' look.
Monarch butterfly pupae chrysalises with OE disease
The adult emerges and pumps its wings full of fluid.
Monarch butterfly chrysalises with bad OE disease will color up black along the back of the pupae before the wing pads turn orange."
The green chrysalises on the left are over 24 hours before emerging. The middle chrysalises will emerge in a day or less. The chrysalises on the right will emerge in a few hours at the most.
When a butterfly first emerges, its probosis is split. It must work the probosis until it is connected into one unit.
Male Monarchs have a black dot on their lower wings.
The dot is in the circle.
The black dot is visable from the
outside of the wings as well as from the inside.
Female Monarchs do not have a black dot on their lower wings.
Monarchs pairing.
A Monarch caught by a winter freeze.
A Monarch nectars upon yellow lantana.
A Monarch nectars from orange lantana.
The fluid a Monarch butterfly pumps to inflate
its wings is light green. This particular butterfly has a
slightly damaged wing and the fluid is leaking. Its wings were able to fully inflate and it was not deformed.
A close (blurry) view of Monarch scales on its wing.