Flutter the Butterfly Goes Free!
The Monarch butterflies we've raised from eggs are finally emerging from their chrysalides as beautiful orange-and-black adults. Here is one Monarch's journey from egg to butterfly. His name is Flutter.
Here is Flutter as an egg.
This is how Flutter looked just before he hatched.
This is Flutter as a newborn. Flutter is about the size of a hyphen.
Here is Flutter in his second instar. He has shed his outgrown skin once.
Here is Flutter when he had just molted. You can see his outgrown skin under him and slightly to the right. Flutter's head starts out green and darkens as he ages.
Here is Flutter in his final instar stage of his life as a caterpillar. He is about 2 1/2-3 inches long and eats voraciously!
Here is a front view of the Flutter as a pupa in his chrysalis.
Here is a side view. All Monarchs and their relatives have metallic-looking areas on their chrysalis, but scientists aren't sure why.
This picture shows Flutter in his chyrsalis near the moment of hatching. His butterfly wing patterns are clearly visible.
A close-up shot shows Flutter's folded wings in more detail.
In this picture, Flutter had emerged from his chrysalis at least a half hour before. In my experience, most butterflies hatch in the early morning... and I ususally miss it!
Flutter rests and pumps his wings as they expand to full size, and during this time he is content to be handled very gently.
At last, Flutter is free! We wish him luck and hope his offspring will be back next year!