Monday, July 28, 2008

Monarch Pupa

So we have been doing this most of the day...
The caterpillar remained in the "J" with very little movement

About 2:15 pm the caterpillar elongated and started to shed its skin for last time - turning into the pupa. We saw it! Cate and I watched the whole thing! It was amazing. The kids had just left minutes before to go to piano lessons and they were so disappointed they missed it! I tried to film it but my camera is so lousy that I am linking you to two different clips of the process. The first is a youtube video but it is set to really silly music so turn off the sound if you can. The second is a mom and her kids watching it happen - scroll down to see the video clip. Both clips are nice recordings of the caterpillar turning into a pupa but I am sorry I wasn't able to include footage of my caterpillar. Prepare yourself - it is like something out of a science fiction movie! And mine also wiggled and twisted like that at the end. It's amazing it even stays attached. But here is what it looked like right after the transformation. The flat panels will eventually turn into wings.

The skin

15 minutes after the transformation - see how the wing panels have spread over the pupa and are starting to harden.

You can see how the pupa is becoming smoother and more formed each hour. And the rim of whit spots at the top is turning black and the spots at the bottom are slowly turning gold.

Stay tuned tomorrow - I will list some really interesting facts about this phase of metamorphosis and what is going on inside the pupa! And wait until you see the pupa fully formed - it is like a jewel!


Jennette said...

Absolutely amazing!! I'm on the edge of my seat through this whole thing.

I'm just now remembered one fall when we went to a place near Santa Cruz where some monarchs migrate to. Did you ever get to see this when you were there? It was very neat.

Emily S. said...

Jennette - we never did see the monarchs. Too bad!! I bet my cousin did, though. Their whole migration thing is fascinating!

Anna said...

So, is it too late to find an egg if we wanted to do this. And could we get together and you help us find one. This is such an amazing process. I truly am so impressed. I love that your kids are sitting in front of a CATERPILLAR for hours on end. It is so great.

Emily S. said...

I don't think it is too late to find eggs because at our city celebration the first week in August, there is always a woman there selling pieces of milkweed with eggs on them (or maybe baby caterpillars - I can't remember). I could probably get you one then or else we need to find a good patch of milkweed. Are you coming down this way any time soon?