Monarch Caterpillar Morphs into Chrysalis

In the last week or so I finally starting seeing Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed in my pollinator garden. I counted about twenty in different instar states. Since then all the leaves of the milkweed have been eaten and the caterpillars have slinked off to find a safe place to hang out and morph into a chrysalis and eventually a butterfly. I was lucky enough to find one of the caterpillars in the classic “J” pose, ready to morph. The first video is filmed at normal speed so you can watch in detail the moments leading up to the emergence of the chrysalis. The second video compresses about 1/2 hour into about a minute and a half. Which ever video you watch, I recommend watching in 4k, full screen.

Sphinx Moth Caterpillars

This spring I planted several Sacred Datura plants hoping to attract Sphinx moths.  The trick worked and now there are a dozen or so Sphinx moth caterpillars pretty much defoliating one of the Datura plants.

Sphinx moth caterpillar on Datura. Copyright: Greg Joder.

metamorphosis – larva to chrysalis

Queen Butterfly Caterpillar.  Copyright:  Greg Joder
Queen Butterfly Caterpillar. Copyright: Greg Joder

I’ve been keeping an eye on the queen butterfly caterpillars that have been feeding on the milkweed and other plants in my yard.  My wish was to see one go through metamorphosis, changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis.  After a couple missed attempts I was finally able to capture the transformation on video.  The first part of the video starts at normal speed then into timelapse.  The second part shows the main transformation in normal time.  I recommend watching in fullscreen and in HD:

life in my yard

This afternoon I spent an hour or so wandering around my yard to see what I could spy.  Of course I had my camera gear with me and recorded what I consider to be some pretty cool critters.

First, A female Desert Spiny Lizard, on the rocks:

Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Wildflower blooms with some cool pollinator bugs:

Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar dining on milkweed:

And, a desert milkweed seed pod:

Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.