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Monarch Emerging from the Chrysalis

Monarch Emerging from the Chrysalis
Photo Information
Copyright: Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-01-13
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 30d, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/20 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-01-12 23:05
Viewed: 7199
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

This butterfly is about 2 minutes old. It hatched this morning at home, where I have been waiting with the camera all set up in the spare bedroom for the last 12 hours!!

Butterflies and moths undergo complete metamorphosis in which they go through four different life stages. It takes about a month for the egg to mature into an adult.

Egg - The Monarch starts its life as a ridged, spherical egg only l/8th of an inch long. The eggs are always laid singly, on the underside of milkweed leaves. The female attaches the egg to the leaf with a quick-drying glue which she secretes along with the egg. The egg hatches in about 3 to 5 days. A tiny wormlike larva emerges.

Larva - The larva (caterpillar) hatches from its egg and eats it. Then it eats milkweed leaves almost constantly. The caterpillar molts (loses its old skin) four times as it grows; after each moult it eats its old skin. When the larva is about 2 inches (5 cm) long, it will stop eating and find a place (like a protected branch) on which to pupate.

Pupa - The caterpillar turns into a pupa (chrysalis). The caterpillar spins silk from its spinneret and attaches its hind end to a branch with the silk and small hooks in the anal prolegs. It hangs head down and moults for the last time. When the newly-exposed skin dries and hardens, it takes the form of a jade green chrysalis. During this stage the caterpillar turns into a butterfly as its entire body is reorganized. In about 10-12 days the chrysalis becomes transparent and a damp butterfly soon emerges.

Adult - A beautiful but damp adult emerges from the chrysalis. It pumps liquid into the wing veins to inflate them. They soon dry, but during this process, the butterfly is extremely vulnerable to predators. There is no growth during the adult stage. It can only eat liquids, which it does through its proboscis. This adult will continue the cycle by reproducing.


Miss_Piggy, red45, eng55, uleko, Argus, sranjan, PeterZ, marhowie, haraprasan, bobcat08, mlines, bikefifty has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To bobcat08: Next timeJanice 1 01-17 11:30
To red45: ChrysalisJanice 1 01-13 00:16
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Janice
We always see these beautiful Monach butterflies with opened wings, or resting on some kind of colourful flower, and therefore it is great to see another side of it. You captured this "2 minute old" insect with great clarity and detail. All you’re waiting and preparing to capture it just in time paid off well and the end result is great. I said it many times before but have to repeat myself. Trek Nature is a wonderful site with not only beautiful photos but also photos with educational value. The last time I have seen a life cycle of an insect was in high school and that was many moons ago. Thanks for all the hours you have spent waiting to bring us this image. It is much appreciated.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-01-12 23:58]
  • [+]

Hello Janice!

Very TN photo and note. I've never seen moment of hatching of butterfly, it must be very exciting. Very good quality and details. I hope there will be more from this serie my friend!

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-01-13 0:49]

Hi Janice,
Beautiful capture.I liked moment you caught,clarity,details,sharpness,colors and composition a lot.Excellent note too!
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-13 2:05]

Hello Janice,
This is very exciting to watch and you got a perfect capture of the event! Excellent details and natural colours of both Chrysalis and emerging butterfly. I expect you'll show us more .... Great work!
TFS and cheers, Ulla

Hi Janice,
What a superb action shot! This must be impressive to see! You had very good timing and capture the moment in all its glory. I would be much impressed to witness this unique scene. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-01-13 7:19]

Hi Jane,this is a great sccop,i wish to live a situation like that one day! This pic is ready for the National Geographic Magazine....simply fantastic! My best compliments,Luciano

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2009-01-13 7:48]

Perfect shot,Janice!
Sharpness,details and colors are marvellous.
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-01-13 7:57]

Hello Janice,
An excellent record of the emergence of a Monarch butterfly from its chrysalis. The POV, fine light direction and use of tripod has resulted in a sharp image with good DOF in a great composition.
TFS this delightful image,

hello Janice
great shot
very good sharpness
beautiful colours
greeting lou

Hello Janice,
Well timed photograph of the monarch emerging from the chrysalis. Excellent details , sharpness & POV. TFS

Olá Janice

Uma foto curiosa e rica em detalhes.
As cores são muito bonitas, gosto da composição também.

Hi Janice,
this moment is so wonderful and amazing - you can be happy to see such a "birth". I love the shot, thank you very much
Sabine - wishnugaruda

very beautiful capture , amazing moment , perfect light and wonderful colours , fine details and good DOF,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-01-13 11:30]

Hello Janice,
What a wonderful moment and you were there. Excellent photo in very beautiful colours and great sharpness. Good OOF BG, POV and composition.

Nicely done Janice!
I've wanted to do this myself, thought of sending off for the mail order thing..
But life has pushed that idea aside..Not enough hours in the day.
Thank you for sharing this wonder,

Hi Janice,
A nice capture of this monarch butterfly's emergence from the pupa. Superb sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello Janice,

A perfect timing shot, the birth of this beautiful butterfly. Do you have the full butterfly photographed? Or was it "NO Way, No CHANGE"

Thanks for sharing and TFS BOB

Hello Janice.

Excellent image, nice composition and colors.

Jose Luis.

Hello Janice

This is so amazing.
The composition is very good and you have managed to document a wonderful moment.
Lovely colours.


  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2009-01-18 23:38]

Hi Janice, We had these hatching at home as school projects many years ago, it is still a miracle of nature to see it. Your crystal clear photo, and detailed notes are a delight to see and read. This is what TN is all about. TFS. Murray.


I hope you are OK and just out on holiday. I miss you great pictures. My granddaughter is into butterflies and this made a great learning tool for her. You have captured this miracle of transformation with great skill and clarity.

Thanks for letting us in on the mirical.


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