Subject:  Monarch Emerges from Chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/09/2021
Time: 8:51 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Last week Daniel informed you that while hiking in Elyria Canyon Park as post-operative knee therapy, he found a Monarch Chrysalis and Caterpillar on native Aesclepias eriocarpa.  Every day or two Daniel had been hiking back to check out the progress and yesterday the chrysalis appeared noticeably darker.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 10

Then this morning at 7:45 AM, the much awaited moment of translucence and the pattern of the wings showing through the exoskeleton.  Daniel sat on the bench to text the images to a few folk and then he laid down in the shade and listened to the birds, and an hour later, he realized that though he had missed the actual eclosion, he was still able to experience the mystery of metamorphosis and to view the helplessness of the newly transformed adult Monarch whose wings had not yet hardened and it was not yet able to fly.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 11

Despite missing the actual eclosion, Daniel was still witness to the hatchling testing out its strange new proboscis and auxiliary mouthparts.

Eclosion one hour later

Daniel writes:  “This new imago, though helpless, was adapting to its new vision thanks to the transformation of the visual sensation through complex compound eyes.  For about a half an hour I watched the adult Monarch feeling the breeze and testing the use of its new muscles in preparation for its maiden flight.  When I got close to take an image it was obvious the creature sensed me and potential threat because it appeared to quiver and to cower.  Not wanting my presence to interfere in the success of the transformation, I left thinking I might check up on it later in the afternoon, and to collect the remains of the exuvia.  I did note that there were no blossoms on the milkweeds in the patch.  All the blossoms seem to have withered and I pondered how much more successful a first flight would be after a first meal of milkweed nectar.  As I started my hike this morning, on my way into the canyon I watched an adult Monarch taking nectar from the blossoms of a patch of geraniums, but I reacted too slowly to get an image with the magicphone.”

Close-up of newly eclosed Monarch

 

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Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

2 Responses to Monarch Metamorphosis in Elyria Canyon Park

  1. Jim Harrison says:

    The metamorphosis of butterflies is one of those natural wonders that every child should witness along with seeing how orb weavers make their webs and baby mantises emerge from the egg case. Back in the 50’s my grammar school teachers made sure the kids saw these things. I certainly hope that the vogue for electronic devices rob children of the first hand experience of nature.

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