Monarch butterflies hatching

After xerocon in Taupo we had a couple of days in Awakeri – boy it was hot – 35 degrees C the day we arrived and about 30 the next day so we didn’t do much but sit very still under the veranda. Except when we were pacing backwards and forwards monitoring the hatching outbreak as the monarch caterpillar chrysalises all darkened during the 3 days of our visit. I’ve never watched the whole hatching to flying process so intensely before and it was amazing! It was great to see the other end of the munching caterpillar phase – and to know that operation monarch rescue a couple of years ago probably played a big part!

About 25 hatched in the time we were there – a couple didn’t unfold properly which was pretty sad, especially after we tried to help them out – but those that did were so beautiful.

About to hatch


Beautiful monarch butterflies

The butterflies stayed hanging for quite a while, gently opening and closing their wings to dry them. I kept my eye on the 1st one I’d seen hatch in the hope of seeing it fly off and I did – the wings opened and closed more frequently and then began to quiver, then the butterfly turned it’s head from side to side as if to look for traffic then leapt off the leaf – miraculous! I got quite teary!!

If it took a butterfly too long to get the chrysalis off we knew the outcome wasn’t going to be good – seemed that the wings started drying the minute air got to them so they couldn’t unfold properly. In the 2 cases we saw, the butterflies ended up with bits of the chrysalis still stuck to their folded wings – it was really nerve-wracking helping them out! I was so scared I was going to rip a wing off!

Helping failed hatch

Didn’t help much though, the wings stayed all folded although the butterflies survived a couple of days and tried so hard to fly.

Helping failed hatch

The Mister captured a great video!

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Monarch butterflies at it — OrangeBlog on 02.23.11 at 5:14 pm

[…] insects go about their daily lives, allowing them to get photos like this – it seems that the monarch butterflies that all hatched out a couple of weeks ago are now up to the reproduction […]

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