Unsurprisingly, not a single butterfly emerged from those knocked down chrysalises. And the big caterpillar on the milkweed plant stopped eating, formed a J-shape and started to make his chrysalis, but stopped halfway. It was so weird. As if he could not continue surrounded by so much death.
This photo shows three stages of life all at once. On the far right is a chrysalis. On the far left is a newly emerged butterfly with still-wet wings. In between is a caterpillar in a J-shape getting ready to form its chrysalis. Also in between is one of those mud dauber homes.
If you look closely at the underside of the leaf in the center, you will see two eggs. The butterfly lays them one at a time, usually on the underside of a leaf, but also on any part of the plant that is exposed.
This is the side of my house where our plants, caterpillars, and chrysalises were minding their own business on that fateful day.
This photo shows a milkweed plant which has been completely defoliated by caterpillars. God knew what he was doing, because even from these nubs, more leaves have sprouted, just in time for the next generation.
A monarch caterpillar. The leaf with the two eggs is right above it.
A few days ago I saw more eggs on the milkweed, and I spotted another butterfly as well. Somehow, one more caterpillar appeared on the milkweed I brought into the lanai, and he’s eating away. I need to remove the dead bodies from the area just in case that contributed to the other’s demise. Growing up around dead bodies would depress me.
Hopefully I’ll get some shots of butterflies laying eggs.
We were lucky that all five of ours hatched, even after the cat batted around the garden and even knocked one down from its attachment place. And all that amid construction debris!
Oh, Barbara, that is awesome! I wonder if the exterminators had sprayed the area first – either the mud dauber homes or the ground onto which the chrysalises fell.