Monday, July 23, 2012

Metamorphosis of a Monarch

Over the last few weeks, I've been learning about the beautiful Monarch butterfly.  One day, while cycling I noticed some monarch caterpillars on the milkweed plants along side the road.  I decided to bring some home, milkweed and all, and set up a terrarium so that I could observe them.  Wanting to learn more about them, I did a Google search and found a lot of interesting information.  
This first image is of the male Monarch that I have photographed here, from caterpillar through the chrysalis stage, the emergence as a butterfly and finally the beautiful adult.  I know it's an male because the black lines are very narrow compared to the orange areas.  In a female the black lines and the orange areas are about the same width.  I added one of Kim Klassen's textures (kk_vintage at softlight 100%), and then I used a trick I learned in Beyond Layers to add the opaque border.

Below is the storyboard showing the Monarch through all of the stages of metamorphosis.  It's interesting to note that the chrysalis is clear.  I'm not sure what gives it the bright green colour early on, but as it progresses, you begin to see the butterfly inside.  At this stage you can already determine it's sex.  I love the bright gold 'beads' that form on the chrysalis.  You'll notice as the butterfly emerges, it 'unfolds' and begins to dry.  It only takes a few minutes for the butterfly to emerge and reach the point where it hangs to dry, and then the drying stage takes a few hours before it is ready to takes it's first short flight.


In my case, that first short flight resulted in my beautiful fascinator.  He seemed pretty content on my head, wandering around a bit but staying on my for about 30 minutes or so while I enjoyed a coffee and read out on the deck.  Finally, when he was ready he flew off onto a nearby hemlock tree where he stayed until the next morning.  Bonnie, how's this for an improbable pairing?



61 comments:

  1. Hi Linda! Thanks for visiting my blog and I've now your latest follower. I ventured to your this blog since it included our mutual interest in photography, but also that you're a fibre artist as well. I used to dabble lots with various stitching projects years back now; but I do love embroidery .. and patchwork...crazy patchwork. I'm not sure if I'll ever get back to it. I'll enjoy wandering over your posts

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    1. Thanks Carole and welcome. As you can see I'm not doing as much fibre arts these day (I seem to be in a bit of a motivational slump) but the photography is another wonderful artistic outlet.

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  2. oh; what I really wanted to say was how in awe I am with your Monarch project! As a kid I used to be fascinated with cryssalis and their contents; I loved seeing your progressive photographs here, and the wonderful release ones; how beautiful those photos with the butterfly; you should encapsulate these in a stitching projects somehow :)

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    1. Thanks Carole. It was a fascinating project and I learned a lot along the way. I do have a butterfly fibre art project in the planning stage. You'll see it done eventually. :0)

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  3. What a lovely experience, and fabulous pictures! Who took the photos when the monarch was on your head? Love this!

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    1. Thanks Jean. It really was a lot of fun. My friend Ann took the shots of the butterfly on my head.

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  4. oh my goodness!! I want to see that in person too!! How beautiful and wonderful! I am obsessed with butterflies. Beautiful, beautiful photos Thank you so much for linking up with Love Bug!!

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    1. Thanks so much Amy. It really was a fun activity.

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  5. WOW! Thank you so much for sharing! I am going to pin your story board to my homeschooling pinterest board so I can show sweet tweener...I didn't realize you could see the wings through the chrysalis! Simply stunning!

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    1. Thank you Cindy. And I'm thrilled about your pinning it. I'm a teacher and therefore love that this will be helpful for those of you that homeschool! :0)

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  6. You may be interested in joining Monarch Watch as I did several years ago. This is only my second year raising them, but the e-mail list, the forum and the web site have been very helpful....Michelle

    http://www.monarchwatch.org/

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  7. Fascinating post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  8. This is fabulous! We don't have Monarchs here, but I've always been fascinated by their story. Your photographs record the life cycle so well...and I LOVE the images of the butterfly on your hair!

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    1. Thanks Evelyn. Glad you enjoyed today's post.

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  9. Those photos are absolutely AMAZING! WOW! I saw you on Love Bug's link up. I'd love it if you stopped by my blog to say hi! www.oursmallmoments.wordpress.com

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  10. I'm visiting from Texture Tuesday, and liked your site so much that I joined :) What a great sequence it is of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly! That's absolutely wonderful. We get Monarchs around the turn of the year, I think -- they flock to a particular area and you can photograph huge clusters of them. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Elise! And thank you for joining my blog.

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  11. What a wonderful, informative post1 Your photos are great.

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    1. Thanks so much Pat. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks. Glad you dropped by for a visit.

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  13. Linda: How in the world have I missed your blog all of this time. I have to come back so have become a follower. Your header is a knockout....so beautiful and unique. The storyboard of the monarch is awesome. What a great job you did. I loved looking at each picture and studying it...and then at the end to see you and your baby together. Lovely. genie

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    1. Thank you so much Genie. I'm so flattered by your thoughtful and very complimentary comments. I'm so glad that you've decided to become a follower. Welcome!

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  14. Wow! You captured some fantastic pictures!! I taught all about the butterfly lifecycle in my 1st grade class last year - wish they could have seen your pictures!

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    1. Thank you Tamar. It was certainly a fun exercise.

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  15. This is amazing! Love your collage of every stage! I've only had the one set on my milkweed. I keep checking but so far no more caterpillars.

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  16. Oh my - what an amazing project. I love how this developed - thanks for sharing!!

    please come follow me and I will follow you too!
    www.patkumicich.blogspot.com
    www.patkumicich2.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Pat. I think I already follow your blog, but if not I certainly will check it out.

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  17. What a wonderful thing to experience. I hope to be able to do that someday with my kids!

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    1. Thanks. I'm sure the kids will love the experience.

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  18. Incredible. Thanks so much for sharing :).
    Stay inspired!

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    1. Thank you Michelle. I'm glad you stopped by.

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  19. Wow, what an amazing improbable pairing! How beautiful your photos are - thanks so much for sharing your experience with this lovely butterfly.

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    1. Thanks Sherri. It certainly was a fun experience.

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  20. Nice pictures. I love them, these gorgeous butterflies. Greetings.

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  21. Now, Linda, tell me how did you persuade the butterfly to co-operate like that to create an improbable fascinator!!! Unbelievable! Made me giggle.

    Don't want to forget to thank you for the educational piece of this post. Step-by-step pics of the emergence of magic and beauty. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with Photo Art Friday!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie. Actually, it was quite easy. I simply told him about your challenge and he was more than happy to pose for the cause! I did tell him he was gorgeous so the flattery may have helped too. LOL

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  22. Oh wow! These are great photos! I have to show the kids in my class these pics. Great learning opportunity.

    I am your newest GFC follower. If you have a moment and would like to, you can visit me here The Things We Find Inside

    Thanks,
    Tami

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    1. Thank you Tami. I'm honoured to have you join as a follower. And I'm thrilled to know you will share this post with your students. As a teacher myself, it's great to know that my passion for photography and natural science will be of benefit to others too!

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  23. Wow these were so amazing. What a wonderful feeling it must have been to have witness this miracle of life.

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    1. Thank you Ida. And yes, it was a wonderful experience!

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  24. Wonderful post, I love the way you tracked the metamorphosis with great photos.

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    1. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

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  25. Yes I am in total agreement with all the comments before mine, a simply wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Miriam. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  26. absolutely fascinating! Great job Linda.

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    1. Thanks Leah. Great to see you yesterday!

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  27. I'm so impressed that you did this. I would never have thought to set up a terrarium. You were rewarded handsomely for your effort. The images are fascinating!

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    1. Thanks Marilyn. It was a fun experience.

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  28. this is absolutely fantastic what you did! awesome images from the birth and much more from your love affair :))

    best regards,

    isabella

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  29. Wow! Very nice series :)! You have tamed to the butterfly, hehe :)!

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    1. Thank you. Glad you came by for a visit.

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