Did you ever wonder how to tell the difference between a boy butterfly and a girl butterfly?
Go here and find out! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
We had a successful birth of a new butterfly this morning. The chrysalis was getting dark yesterday, so I started watching it closely and taking pictures. Then it started to get transparent and we could see the orange and black wings. I knew it would come out (eclose) by this morning.
I was right! When we woke up this morning, the butterfly was hanging onto the outside of its transparent chrysalis. The chrysalis was moving around a little bit, so that probably helped her to dry out faster. We know she’s a girl because she doesn’t have any spots on the bottoms of her wings when she opens them. We named her Diamond.
Some things I’ve learned about raising Monarch caterpillars and butterflies:
1. Go out to a field where you see milkweed growing along the edge and look under the leaves for a striped caterpillar. If it’s later in the season, they will be big and orange and black and easy to see. If they’re smaller in the beginning of August, they will be white and hard to tell what they are. But if it’s on a milkweed, it’s probably a Monarch. (You can see a picture of a tiny one and how fast he grew in this post. See my posts in the category Caterpillar Chronicles to read more about how to raise Monarch butterflies from caterpillars. There are also some posts about the spiritual significance of caterpillars and butterflies among them.)
2. Put your caterpillar in a jar with a milkweed leaf. Pick some extra leaves in case the caterpillar needs to eat for a while before making a chrysalis. Just let him crawl on the leaf and eat for a few days.
3. Keep an eye on him and if you see him leave the leaf and act like he’s looking for something, he’s ready to make a chrysalis. I put the jar inside a cardboard box, because mine have often made them on the underside of the flaps of cardboard boxes. I’ve tried different materials at the top of the jar, but the flaps of a cardboard box have worked best. Two of mine last year made chrysalises on the side of the glass jars they were in. That made me nervous. I didn’t think they would stick, but they did.
4. After a week and a half to two weeks, start watching closely again and you’ll see the chrysalis start to get darker. Keep watching and you’ll see it get more transparent, and you’ll be able to see the colors of the wings inside.
5. When the butterfly comes out, don’t touch it. Let it hang on the empty chrysalis and dry. It will start walking around on its own. Then take it outside and see if it will go on the leaf of a tree. It may stay on a tree and dry some more. Or it may just be ready to take off and fly away before you even get a chance to film it. Like Diamond did for us today.