29 July 2010
Here is a series of pictures I made a few years ago. The pictures show the main stages of a monarch caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. This group of pictures was made over about a two week period. All of the action takes place at the beginning and end of that two week period. Near the end you can tell when the butterfly is about to emerge because just before the hatch the chrysalis becomes transparent allowing you to see the butterfly inside.
I came home early one afternoon and found a transparent chrysalis, I knew that the butterfly was just about to emerge. So I got my gear ready and kept a close eye on things. As the day went on I could see the butterfly moving inside struggling to break free. About ten o’clock that evening I had myself completely convinced that it was going to happen very soon. At midnight, (twelve hours in now), I’m quite certain that the chrysalis is just about to burst. By three in the morning I’m seriously considering using a razor blade to preform an emergency butterflyectomy. Well, five am comes and I certainly can’t go to bed, I had already spent fifteen hours waiting for this thing! I could not imagine going to sleep and missing it at this point! The clock on the mantle announces eight in the morning, and still no butterfly, OK this is just getting ridiculous! In the end the butterfly you see here was ‘born’ at 11:00 AM on a beautiful July morning, after I had spent just over 23 hours on stakeout!
I can tell you that I took a much deserved nap that afternoon.