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Metamorphasis – Magical Monarchs their life cycle

A female Monarch can lay up to 250 eggs which are like white dots on Milkweed. Our NZ type of Milkweed is our Swan Plant.

The small lavae or caterpillar eats it’s way out of the egg and is really tiny. The Monarch caterpillar has eyes, but apparently it is deaf.

Now the caterpillar is attached to its leaf by it’s own web that comes out of it’s mouth, it also works as a rope if the caterpillar falls. Like a spider’s web.

In it’s lifetime a Monarch caterpillar goes through 5 instars, 5 growth stages, where it sheds it’s skin and grows another. However in the 5th stage it hangs upside down like this picture and spins itself into a chrysalis. It is called, “Metamorphasis’

The caterpillar eats only milkweed and that is poisonous so the caterpillar begins eating the leaf by carefully eating so there is not too much white sap at once. That way it survives, it chews the end of the leaf towards the stem. The white sap is alkaline.

Picture of a Monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis. You can see it begins from it’s head and then spins it takes a few minutes.

After awhile it goes into a more solid state, it is green with a golden zipper and some gold dots. Then it takes a while to change from caterpillar to emerge into a butterfly

Over time the colour of the chrysalis changes over all about 3 weeks depending on the weather

It is ready to hatch as a butterfly. Never try to help it, it cant survive help from humans

Then it emerges most don’t notice it arriving

Don’t give up on it it is all happening

It takes half an hour to form and then 2 hours for the butterfly to dry it’s wings

All set to go and be released this is a female, no hind dots thicker black bands

Can you see the 2 dots on the hind wings of the butterly? That is the male


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Written by Pamela Moresby

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