Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monarch Butterfly Cocoon

Just a mention to those of you who no longer search out Milkweed patches as the blossoms are now going to seed. There might still be treasure there to be found. I found one such treasure on the underside of a Milkweed leaf this afternoon in the form of a beautiful Monarch Butterfly Cocoon! Isn't it fascinating looking, with its rim of gold near the top!
I don't know how it managed to hold on to the leaf as it continually swung to and fro in the wind that was blowing the plants along the roadside. I recognized what it was right away for a couple of years ago I had brought home a Monarch caterpillar and watched it go through the stages of metamorphosis until finally emerging as a most beautiful, brand new Monarch Butterfly. When I looked closely at the cocoon I could see that it was sweating quite a bit; and this is not a hot day. I wonder if the butterfly is almost ready to emerge? I think, if you look at the right side of the cocoon you can see the faint outline of wings. To try to get a better look I used the poster edge filter in photoshop to give more pronounced
details in the picture.
I have marked the location of the Milkweed plant that has the cocoon on it and shall return each day to check its progress. Maybe I will be so lucky as to see the adult butterfly hanging in the air drying and hardening its wings before it takes off in flight.

18 comments:

Becky and Gary said...

Great Post Ann. Very interesting.I went right out after reading this, and looked, but didn't find any yet. There is much more area to cover.I'll keep looking.

me ann my camera said...

becky:
I am going back out to where I had seen this one tomorrow morning and perhaps I'll see a change from today. Good luck in your search.

scienceguy288 said...

Almost that time of year. Soon enough, they will be emerging transformed.

kjpweb said...

Great find! Hope you get "the shot" !
And show us, of course!
Cheers, Klaus

me ann my camera said...

scienceguy288:
I was surprised to find it as I wasn't even looking, but someone had cut most of the roadside plants there so perhaps that made it easier to find. I was lucky.

kjpweb:
For sure I will post pictures. If I remember correctly it took quite a while for the one that I had watched at home to dry and harden its wings before it flew away so hopefully I will have a bit of a time window for just chancing by.

Kay said...

We used to have so MANY butterflies, caterpillars and cocoons when I was growing up on the crown flowers plants. Now I rarely see them. Sad.

Rambling Woods said...

Wonderful photos Ann..I just got an e-mail from Journey North that said that there have been reports of monarchs on the move and that migration had started. Hard to believe that the summer is almost over... Michelle

Tommy V said...

great series of photos. So cool to see this.

abbey meadows said...

Nice post. Great find and hope you are successful with pics of the emerging butterfly... keep us posted.

me ann my camera said...

rambling woods:
Yes, summer is winding down. We have had so much rain recently but the sun is forecast for the next few days in a row after about three weeks of it being very intermittent in its appearance. Once school begins again it seems that summer is over. I am seeing less birds recently.

bobbie said...

Beautiful series. Wish I could find one.

me ann my camera said...

bobbie:
I just got back from checking the cocoon this morning. Its still there and the butterfly inside is still intact. I'll check again this afternoon on its progress. Its lovely to find something such as this and the silence and solitude along the quiet roadside where I found it was really a moment with nature.

fishing guy said...

Ann: The cacoon is unbelievable.

Mary said...

How neat! I hope it hatches! I'll have to go back to the milkweed patch in the wetlands here and see if there are any. Wonderful photos and am glad you are tracking it.

me ann my camera said...

mary:
Good luck with your search. I'm be going out to check on my find in an hour or so. I hope its still there.

Tammi said...

Just found your blog - was looking up green with gold trim coccoons so I could see what was hanging from my rocking chair on the front porch. How exciting that it is a Monarch Butterfly. I too hope I see it emerge and dry its wings before taking off. Thank you for your information.

Anonymous said...

Just found your site as I was looking up milkweed plant cocoons. I have a number of them in my yard and they each have cocoons. Should be interesting watching.

Blonde said...

I found a caterpillar a couple of days ago and brought it inside and fed it just two days and then this beautiful cocoon was in the jar. I am going to watch it and photograph it when it emerges...then set it free. What a great gift from my new milkweed bush that I recently planted! Wish I could post my picture. Can anyone tell me how/why the gold ring is on the cocoon?