The majestic monarch butterfly, often admired for its vibrant orange and black wings, holds a deeper spiritual significance for many people. These graceful insects are believed to symbolize personal transformation, growth, and the discovery of one’s inner strength, according to various spiritual beliefs. A butterfly landing on you is often considered a sign that you are in a season of transformation and spiritual growth.
Monarch butterflies undergo an incredible journey as they navigate their annual migration, covering thousands of miles between North America and Mexico. Their life cycle is symbolic of continuous metamorphosis, with stages including the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult butterfly. Each stage represents a period of growth, change, and transition, mirroring the human experience of personal development and self-discovery.
Monarch Butterfly Spiritual Meaning
Monarchs hold a strong spiritual significance due to their transformative nature. They undergo metamorphosis, signifying personal growth and change.
- From caterpillar to butterfly: This process represents spiritual transformation as individuals transition from one stage of life to another.
Spiritual Significance in Various Cultures
- Psyche: Monarchs are associated with Psyche, the personification of the soul in Greek Mythology. Their life cycle symbolizes the soul’s journey of transformation, enlightenment, and rebirth.
Native American Culture
- Dreams and spirits: In Native American culture, butterflies symbolize dreams and spiritual communication. Monarchs specifically represent the departed souls visiting the living in dreams.
- Day of the Dead: Monarchs arrive in Mexico around the Day of the Dead celebrations. Mexicans see them as the souls of deceased loved ones returning to offer comfort and guidance.
Chinese and Japanese Cultures
- Longevity: In Chinese and Japanese cultures, butterflies represent long life and marital happiness. Monarchs, in particular, are believed to bring good fortune to marriages.
- Soul’s journey: In Russian culture, butterflies are believed to be mystical messengers guiding the soul’s journey after death. Monarchs represent the soul’s eternal path and spiritual transformation.
|Culture||Monarch Butterfly Significance|
|Greek Mythology||Symbol of the soul, transformation|
|Native American||Spiritual communication, dreams|
|Mexican||Arrive during the Day of the Dead|
|Chinese and Japanese||Sign of longevity and marital bliss|
|Russian||Guides the soul’s journey after death|
Symbolism and Associations
Love and Hope
Monarch butterflies often represent love and hope in various cultures. Their presence during important ceremonies and celebrations symbolizes the belief in everlasting love and the hope for a brighter future. For example:
- Wedding ceremonies: The release of monarch butterflies symbolizes the beginning of a new life together.
- Memorial services: Butterflies are often seen as messengers of hope and comfort from the deceased to the living.
Growth and Change
The life cycle of a monarch butterfly reflects personal growth and transformation. Through various stages, the butterfly undergoes significant changes, making it a powerful symbol of:
- Strength: As the caterpillar undergoes numerous instar stages, it exemplifies the ability to endure challenges.
- Evolution: The transition from caterpillar to butterfly showcases the power of transformation.
Rebirth and Renewal
Monarch butterflies embody the notion of rebirth and renewal throughout their migration and metamorphosis. As the butterflies travel thousands of miles, they represent:
- Spirituality: In spiritual practices, butterflies are seen as symbols of rebirth, carrying the soul from one life to the next.
- Trust: The butterfly’s journey signifies faith in the cycles of life and the natural process of renewal.
Comparison Table: Symbolism of Monarch Butterflies
|Love and Hope||Everlasting love, hope for a bright future||Wedding ceremonies, memorial services|
|Growth and Change||Personal transformation, strength, evolution||Instar stages, metamorphosis|
|Rebirth and Renewal||Spiritual rebirth, renewal, faith in life cycles||Migration, cultural and spiritual rituals|
Butterflies as Spiritual Guides
Guidance through Life’s Journey
Butterflies, particularly the monarch butterfly, often symbolize spiritual guides helping us navigate our way through life’s journey. They can be seen as a guiding light that connects us to our intuition and a higher power. These delicate creatures inspire personal growth, transformation, and embrace change. For example, as the butterfly metamorphoses from a caterpillar to winged marvel, it reminds us of our potential for growth and adaptation in various aspects of our lives.
Connection to Deceased Loved Ones
Butterflies are also associated with the Day of the Dead celebrations, symbolizing a connection between the living and the deceased. This connection extends to our ancestors, souls, and spirits – suggesting that our loved ones’ presence remains with us even after they have passed. Encounters with butterflies are often seen as messages from deceased friends and family members, providing comfort and reassurance.
Butterfly Spiritual Symbolism
- Personal growth and transformation
- Connection to deceased loved ones
- Intuition and higher power
- Embracing change
Comparing Butterfly Spiritual Symbolism to Other Symbols
|Butterfly||Spirit guides, transformation, connection to deceased loved ones||Represents light, transient connection to the spiritual world|
|Eagle||Strength, leadership, authority||Symbol of power and dominance|
|Owl||Wisdom, knowledge, intuition||Associated with nighttime and mystery|
In summary, butterflies serve as spiritual guides in our lives, offering guidance, connecting us to our loved ones who have passed, and symbolizing personal growth and transformation.
Lessons from the Monarch Butterfly’s Lifecycle
Power and Resilience in Migration
The monarch butterfly’s migration is a symbol of power and resilience. Despite its delicate appearance, this insect undertakes long journeys across generations, covering thousands of miles1. These migrations reflect their incredible ability to adapt and survive even in challenging conditions. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed plants for survival, as caterpillars feed on these plants during their early stages of development2.
- Monarch migration spans across generations
- They demonstrate resilience and adaptability
- Milkweed plants are essential for their survival
Metamorphosis and Personal Growth
The metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly—from a caterpillar to a magnificent creature with bright orange wings3—serves as a powerful symbol of personal growth and enlightenment. Monarch butterflies inspire us to embrace change and evolve, just as they go through multiple stages in their lifecycle. Their transformation is a reminder to continuously adapt and transform to achieve our full potential.
- Metamorphosis symbolizes personal growth
- Embrace change and evolve
- Continuous adaptation is necessary for achieving full potential
|Comparison||Caterpillar||Adult Monarch Butterfly|
|Physical Appearance||Larval stage||Bright orange wings|
|Primary Objective||Consume food||Mate and reproduce|
|Relation to milkweed||Feed on it||Lay eggs on it|
|Spiritual Significance||Growth stage||Enlightenment|
Monarchs in Mythology and Folklore
King of Butterflies
The Monarch butterfly is often referred to as the “King of Butterflies” due to its stunning beauty and graceful flight. This regal title signifies:
As a symbol of self-discovery and transformation, Monarchs inspire art, poetry, and spirituality in various cultures.
Symbolism in Chinese and Japanese Cultures
In Chinese and Japanese cultures, the Monarch butterfly carries deep symbolism:
- Journey of life
The orange Monarch butterfly, in particular, represents passion and transformation. Here’s a comparison between the Monarch butterfly and other symbolic creatures in these cultures:
|Symbolic Creature||Associated Meanings|
|Monarch Butterfly||Guidance, Perseverance, Journey of life, Passion|
|Hummingbird||Joy, Love, Happiness, Strength|
|Cardinal||Renewal, Vitality, Faith, Balance|
Interpretations in other Cultures
Monarch butterflies hold significant meanings in other cultures too. Key interpretations include:
- Spiritual guidance
- Expressions of love
Throughout history, these fascinating creatures have captured human imagination, leaving lasting impressions on folklore, mythology, and art.
Spiritual Practices Involving Monarch Butterflies
Meditation and Connection to the Universe
Monarch butterflies can serve as an inspiration for meditation, helping individuals connect with the universe on a deeper level. The butterfly’s journey and natural beauty encourage inner peace and a sense of oneness.
- Freedom: Monarch butterflies symbolize freedom, as they gracefully fly with seemingly no limitations.
- Cosmic connection: Just as these butterflies demonstrate harmony with nature, humans can strive to achieve a similar state of connection with the cosmos.
- Inner compass: Observing monarchs can guide one toward their true purpose.
For a more meaningful meditation experience, observe the following interesting facts about monarch butterflies:
- Their migration pattern can span thousands of miles
- Monarchs are one of the few species that undergo a two-way migration process, similar to birds source
Utilizing these facts during meditation allows practitioners to tap into the spiritual message of the monarch butterfly.
Embracing New Chapters in Life
Monarch butterflies also symbolize transformation and rebirth. They undergo a metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis and finally to butterfly, signifying new beginnings and growth.
As an ultimate guide to embracing life changes, the monarch butterfly teaches the following lessons:
- Manifestation: Channel the butterfly’s transformative energy to manifest the desired changes in life.
- Illness: Like how a caterpillar overcomes the challenges of metamorphosis, one can confront illness with courage and hope.
- New chapter: The monarch butterfly’s journey signifies a new chapter, inspiring individuals to embrace their journey and seek the highest spiritual truth.
Taking inspiration from the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, allow your life experiences to serve as an inner compass, guiding you through both significant life changes and everyday challenges.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Monarch Chrysalis Parasitized by Chalcid Wasps
Parasitic invasion of chrysalis
A friend gave me a beautiful chrysalis yesterday to watch and photograph. This morning the container to swarming with little flying insects. I moved it outside and found two holes in the chrysalis that the bugs were emerging from. What are the flying insects, and have they probably attacked whatever moth or butterfly was forming in the coccoon? Thank you very much for any information.
Your distinctive Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis has been parasitized by minute Chalcid Wasps. According to BugGuide, there are over 2200 North American species, but since you did not provide us with a location, there may be more or less where you made this observation. BugGuide also states: “They are used as pest controls because they parasitize mainly the orders that contain many common pests: Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera and Homoptera.”
Letter 2 – Monarch Caterpillars
Subject: Monarch Caterpillars?
Geographic location of the bug: Columbus, Ohio
Time: 09:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Do I finally have some? After years of “growing weeds” (according to my husband), do I finally have some Monarchs on my milkweed? I’ve spotted at least three…. I’m so excited!
How you want your letter signed: Amber
Your excitement is justifiable as these are indeed Monarch Caterpillars. After all your years of gardening diligence, you are finally getting the rewards for your efforts.
Letter 3 – Monarch Caterpillars are growning
update on Monarch Caterpillars
Location: Hawthorne, CA
December 3, 2012
I found what I think are the two oldest caterpillars munching on the milkweed flowers this morning. My total count this morning was nine. Some hatched later on and are just now starting to develop their antennae. Sorry about the blurriness of the younger, it’s a bit dark & wet out there today.
Thanks for the update on your Monarch Caterpillars. We are happy to hear that at least nine individuals have weathered the series of “storms” we had over the weekend.
Update: December 5, 2012
Here are two photos of one caterpillar in two stages of molting. First is just the skin, second is the skin and the “helmet”.
Thanks for the update Anna. They are really starting to look like Monarch Caterpillars now.
Letter 4 – Monarch Caterpillars sighted in the Milkweed Meadow
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mt Washington, Los Angeles, CA
July 3, 2012
The editorial staff of What’s That Bug has been working with the Mount Washington Beautification Committee to create a butterfly garden in Elyria Canyon Park. We are also monitoring the native plants in the park and observing the butterflies that are attracted to them. We are happy to announce that there are several early instar Monarch Caterpillars feeding on the buds of the Indian Milkweed, Asclepias eriocarpa (see CalFlora) that grows naturally in the park. The milkweed manages to escape the weed whacking because it doesn’t begin to sprout its gray, furry leaves until after the annual oats and mustard are cleared as part of the yearly brush clearance. This is fortuitous since the two places in Elyria Canyon Park where the milkweed survives are both in areas that get cleared yearly.
Last year, we also documented two Monarch Caterpillars that were discovered at a later, more mature instar stage. Caterpillars undergo five instars or growth stages each ending in a molting. The final or fifth instar end with molting to a chrysalis. Many caterpillars leave the food plant to search for a better location for the metamorphosis to the chrysalis. We didn’t observe any chrysalides last year, but we are hopeful that the two caterpillars we found eventually metamorphosed into adult Monarch Butterflies.
Letter 5 – Monarch Chrysalides and emerged Monarch Butterfly
Subject: Trying to Save the Monarchs
Location: West Los Angeles
December 15, 2012 5:42 pm
I just read Anna’s post (from Torrance, CA which is near me) and decided to ask if my efforts are misguided. Last year we had about 3 dozen chrysalises that did not emerge because, I believe, the weather turned too cold for them. So this year I’ve been gathering caterpillars in a plastic tank and bringing them inside overnight and on cold days. Every day, it seems, there are more and more caterpillars and I don’t think I can take care of all of them.
So… Are my efforts worth while, or should I let nature take its course.
Here are a couple pictures – we had one emerge today!
Signature: Jeff Bremer
We believe your efforts are well spent, and for that reason, we are tagging your posting with a Bug Humanitarian award. If there are too many caterpillars, do not try to protect them all. Just let nature take its course with the others.
Letter 6 – Monarch Chrysalis
can you tell me what this is?
I was wondering what will emerge from this cocoon. It is located on a palm tree in my front yard?
Olde Naples Chocolate
We would love to receive a complimentary gift of chocolate for identifying your Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis.
Letter 7 – Monarch Chrysalis
Just wanted to share this good shot of a monarch chrysalis on our dog pen. We planted annual butterfly weed and have a bunch of these. We love your site here in West Tennessee.
Rick and Beth
Hi Rick and Beth,
Thanks for your lovely photo of a Monarch Chrysalis.
Letter 8 – Monarch Chrysalis
Shiny bright green Chrysalis in wood pile
Location: Fairfield, Maine, Somerset County
September 9, 2010 4:34 pm
I found two odd and pretty looking things attached to some logs while splitting wood. I took a few photos for i.d. and moved them to a safer area. Do you know what will come from these? One was loose, but the other was attached by some sort of filaments attached to a black ”thing.” The woodpile was mostly hardwood, maybe a few pine in there. the area was adjacent to a large milkweed field where I had previously seen dozens of Monarch caterpillars feeding…maybe these are monarchs chrysalis? They also look like a cicada’s wings might be inside…
Signature: James R
YOur theory that this is the Chrysalis of a Monarch Butterfly is absolutely correct.
September 10, 2010
Hi Daniel, thanks a lot!
To complete the “story” here are some pics of the caterpillars and an adult, maybe female, that I saw earlier this summer.
Thanks for rounding out the stages of the Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis for us. This will also contribute to our Milkweed Meadow tag.
Letter 9 – Monarch Chrysalis
Daniel, I found a chrysalis
Location: South Pasadena, CA
March 17, 2011 10:49 pm
I continue to have monarch caterpillars on the milkweed. Not so many – just two or three at a time. I’ve kept looking for a chrysalis, and I thought real hard about taking caterpillars captive. This morning I noticed the narcissus leaves looking droopy, and I was going to bundle them up. When I saw this! Hanging off the leaves. It’s smaller than I would have thought – smaller than a full grown caterpillar, and much smaller than a butterfly. I couldn’t get a very good picture, but wanted to share anyway. Fitting that it’s green.
Thanks so much for sending us your photo of a Monarch Chrysalis. It is nice to hear your garden is supporting a healthy Monarch population. Often caterpillars leave a food plant to pupate.
Letter 10 – Monarch Chrysalis
Subject: Monarch Caterpillar Chrysalis
Location: Hawthorne, CA
January 11, 2013 3:59 pm
I was just about to give up and let you know I couldn’t find a single Monarch Chrysalis when I spied one! Wasn’t even looking for it this time. So, there were 16 total caterpillars of varying ages. There are five left now, one larger and four of medium size. The very first hatched the day before Thanksgiving. The large caterpillars have been disappearing into the Cigar Plant bushes one at a time over the past week. Hope your holidays were great and I’ll be keeping an eye on this gem now that I’ve found it!
Signature: Anna Carreon
Happy New Year Anna,
Thanks for sending us this photo of a beautiful Monarch Chrysalis. We hope the other mature Monarch Caterpillars wandered away from their food plants to metamorphose in a different location and you have just not been fortunate enough to spot them.
Happy New Year to you and yours! Thanks for the kudos on the photo. I’m beside myself, which, according to certain members of my family, is a dangerous thing! I have no idea why this fourth generation of caterpillars took so long to pupate. I’ve read that the butterflies from this generation live 6-8 months so they can make the journey southward, but nothing on the caterpillars themselves. Can you shed any light on this?
Cool weather slows down the metabolism and consequently the growth rate. We suspect that might be the cause of the extended period of time in the larval state.
Thanks very much. I suspected the same.
Letter 11 – Monarch Chrysalis
Subject: What is going on here?
Geographic location of the bug: Central Virginia
Time: 03:23 PM EDT
Hello, what exactly is going on here, and what insect am I looking at? A very pretty green with gold sparkles!
How you want your letter signed: Caroline
This is a the chrysalis or pupa of a Monarch Butterfly. The Greek and Latin origins of the word chrysalis is gold, referring to the gold flecks often seen on many chrysalides, including the image you submitted. When eclosion time nears, the orange wings of the Monarch Butter are visible through the exoskeleton.
Letter 12 – Monarch Chrysalis Christmas Tree
Ed. Note: We thought this was such a lovely photo and such a marvelous example of a Bug Humanitarian that we are passing on the holiday greetings to our readership regardless of faith or denomination. As arguably the most intelligent life form on this planet, we humans have a responsibility of stewardship for the environment, including the lower beasts.
My Christmas tree this year
Location: This is in Jacksonville, Florida, on the banks of the beautiful St Johns River.
December 20, 2011
This is my Christmas tree this year, and I love it.
A late hatching of Monarch caterpillars during a cold snap made me carry many of them inside for protection. Now they’ve gone into chrysalis form (I have video!). Obviously, I transferred them from their chosen sites (not always good choices) to a little bonsai tree, where they’ll all have clear “take-off” points.
The black chrysalis (on the right) is about to hatch – they turn black before they break out.
Thank you for the lovely holiday greeting which we are featuring as a post. We are also tagging you as a Bug Humanitarian because of your rescue intervention. Could you please provide us with a location for the photo?
Of course! This is in Jacksonville, Florida, on the banks of the beautiful St Johns River.
I must add a sad but educational note:
These Monarch caterpillars were laid and fed on first-year Mexican milkweed. But I’ve learned that that species harbors a parasite that kills the caterpillars before they can chrysalize IF they feed on second-year plants. Mexican milkweed (not native to Florida) tends to live through the winter so produces second-year plants. It’s a real threat to Monarchs here.
The sad part is that I had a dozen healthy caterpillars but my plants were eaten up so I went to a friend for foliage and her clippings must have come from older plants as all the caterpillars that fed on it died. It was very sad to see healthy caterpillars collapse and die a slow death from the parasites.
I’ll pull up this year’s plants and use native species next year as they do die back in the winter.
Thank you for your fascinating and helpful site. You do great good for the bugs of the world – and the humans too.
Happy holidays and New Year,
Thanks for the information on the milkweed dilemma. We were unaware of that threat. Various native milkweed species are found in so many parts of the world that we would always encourage butterfly gardeners to plant native whenever possible.
I’m very honored and proud to receive the Bug Humanitarian citation.
My tree could be a “tree of life” or “tree of renewal” – its significance is equally applicable to any religion or frame of belief (or lack thereof).
No one can be offended by the breathtaking beauty and complexity of all of nature.
I agree. Before I knew about the problem I just bought what was at the big-box hardware store. Maybe the Mexican species, being so hardy, is easier to ship – that or some other cost-motivated factor is probably behind it’s availability. Next year I’ll seek out native plants.
Speaking of those big stores, their purchasing power has effects on the environment of which most individuals are unaware. For example, cypress mulch is produced by horrible destruction to Florida and Louisiana coastal areas. Cypress mulch should not be produced – they’re slow growing and no such thing as an excess of them. I’ll get off my soapbox now!
Why stop now Lane? We sometimes feel we are perpetually on a soap box, preaching about unnecessary carnage and the like.
Letter 13 – Monarch Chrysalis Progress Report
Subject: Daniel – Monarch Chrysalides Update
Location: Hawthorne, CA
February 6, 2013 6:24 pm
We’ve been concerned over the past few weeks that the prolonged frost we had may have killed our pupated Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. A happy report! The first one we found (pupated just before the frost) is alive and well and looks as though it will eclose today or tomorrow. The pics attached are from early this morning and the chrysalis has darkened substantially since then. I don’t want to bother it further, but hope to be able to see the ”birth”. Also, Marty found two more chrysalides in the Rock Iris patch this past Sunday morning. This brings our total sightings to six. There are probably more, but we just haven’t yet found them.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon
We always love getting your updates. Congratulations. We are a bit jealous.
Letter 14 – Monarch Eclosion
Subject: Daniel – Monarch Butterfly Eclosion
Location: Hawthorne, CA
February 28, 2013 4:35 pm
First, I’m sorry I haven’t sent photos before now. We lost our first Monarch and it kinda threw me for a loop. It was my first time seeing this wonderful process but I could tell at the beginning that something wasn’t right with him. Another eclosed just behind us just afterwards and flew after a few hours. The first was still around the next morning. When we got back from our weekly grocery shopping, it was on the ground with a back leg folded up underneath itself and dragging its right wing. It has a place of honor in back and I hope to grow a milkweed plant at that very spot. That said, I’ve now seen two more eclose and there are still two left. Maybe another 5-6 days left for them. We spotted six chrysalides total but maybe there are more! The two remaining chrysalides are definitely the last two caterpillars and I will be glad to be able to get out back and clean up the garden once they’ve completed their metamorphosis. So far, one we don’t know the sex of, two males and one female. It’s been difficult to choose which photos to send as this is such a wonderful process. The first of the three is the first butterfly just starting to pump the fluid from his abdomen into the wings. The other two are from a different eclosion. Also, I have a very good friend who was visiting from Oregon last week and she took the three remaining already eclosed chrysalides home with her. She wants to cast them in silver and make jewelry from them. We don’t know if they are too delicate for this, but I’ll get a necklace if they aren’t.
Hope all is well with you and that you have been enjoying our beautiful ”winter” weather.
Signature: Anna Carreon
This wonderful documentation of your Monarch population is greatly appreciated and we are certain our readership will find them helpful. We are sorry to hear that you have not had 100% survival rate.
Your adult male Monarch is surely a comely specimen.
Thanks very much and I’ll try to keep you posted when the last two eclose. It’s been a great experience, one I wish I’d had as a kid.
I think I was a little off on the remaining chrysalides. One looks as though it will eclose today, tomorrow at the latest. The other won’t be far behind, as they pupated within a day of each other.
Update March 1, 2013
I did notice that the site looked not quite right and I couldn’t navigate as before, but waited a few days and then all seemed to be better. We did have eclosion of the fifth Monarch Butterfly about an hour ago. I wasn’t around for it and am not sure why it was not hanging from its chrysalis when I discovered. It’s slowly crawling up the Mexican Milkweed stalk that it pupated on, so I’m keeping a close and protective eye on it. Could have been that a finch or a wasp disturbed it, but I’ll never know. Back out to the back, and thanks for letting me know your site is experiencing problems.
The webmaster is away and there are some technical difficulties preventing new postings and additions from showing live.
Update March 2, 2013
So, our last butterfly eclosed today. It was a boy. Seven known chrysalides: 1 unknown, 2 female, 4 male. Three didn’t make it. I don’t know if that’s a good ratio or not.
I should say seven known. Hopefully there were more that slid out under our radar.
Letter 15 – Monarch Eclosion
Subject: Daniel – Monarch Butterfly Eclosion
Location: Hawthorne, CA
January 22, 2014 1:42 pm
Marty noticed Monday that the only Monarch chrysalis we’ve spotted this go ’round was turning very dark and clearing. He predicted eclosion to within 15 minutes! I set up the camera and went inside to cook while he kept watch. She spent the night protected amongst the Rock Purslane in front of the shed, and took flight as soon as the sun hit them Tuesday morning. She’s a real beauty and is still visiting the back today. Hope you enjoy the photos.
Signature: Anna Carreon
Thanks for providing this wonderful documentation of the eclosion of a Monarch. We are happy to learn that producing these images did not delay your culinary diversions.
Letter 16 – Monarch Egg Questions
Subject: Monarch Butterfly egg
Location: Clinton Twp, MI 48036
August 10, 2017 9:17 am
I was wondering do all monarch eggs hatch? I collected what I thought were monarch eggs and check twice a day…some just disappear???? Is this possible? Thank you.
Signature: Cindy Richards
If every insect egg that was ever laid eventually hatched and matured, humans would quickly get displaced on the planet. We don’t know the circumstances of your collection process, or where the eggs are being housed once they are collected. Are you collecting just the eggs, or the leaves? How are you keeping the leaves fresh once you collect the eggs? Why are you not leaving the eggs in place? Many caterpillars eat the egg shell after hatching, and that provides their first meal. Though your image does not have the same critical detail as this Learner.Org image of a Monarch Egg, they do appear quite similar. Regarding eggs just disappearing, it is possible they are falling prey to something.
Thank you for responding. I cut off part of the milkweed leaf with the egg and kept them in a pan in the garage. Yesterday I cut the entire leaf and carefully placed just the leaf stem in a vase of water in the house. I removed the eggs because the milkweed was covered with ants and other bugs – I was afraid the eggs would be devoured. We also have a large bird population.
Letter 17 – Monarch Eggs Hatching
Monarch caterpillar egg (Danaus plexippus)
Location: Naperville, IL
June 21, 2011 8:25 pm
I thought you might like to have these photos I took today of the first of our 2011 Monarch caterpillars. We live in the midst of a prairie preserve with a lot of common milkweed, and we keep a few plants in our front yard for the purpose of raising Monarchs each summer. The one on the right has just hatched and has turned around to begin eating its shell. My photos of it actually hatching were too blurry, as I was in a hurry. The one on the left hatched after I left it, but I will plenty of opportunities for better shots. Best regards.
Signature: Dori Eldridge
We are positively thrilled to receive your excellent images of a newly hatched Monarch Caterpillar and a sibling egg about to hatch. This very nicely rounds out our Monarch Butterfly metamorphosis as we now have all stages of development, though several Caterpillar instars may be missing. We do have a question about the anatomy of the milkweed. It appears that buds are just sitting on a leaf, and that they are not properly connected to the plant. Can you please explain if this was a result of gathering eggs from a different plant.
Letter 18 – Monarch Hatches in Hawthorne!!! Assassin Lurks Nearby
Subject: Daniel – Monarch Hatchling
Location: Hawthorne, CA
October 8, 2013 5:26 pm
We want to share this, our first hatchling of the season, with you. We are honored and excited to chronicle yet another generation of Monarch Butterfly caterpillars.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon
Congratulations on your new generation of Monarchs Anna.
Ed. Note: See Anna’s spring female Monarch here:
Immature [Milkweed] Assassin Bug
Subject: Daniel – Assassin Bug Nymph?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
October 8, 2013 5:23 pm
I was out looking for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on the Mexican Milkweed this afternoon and spotted this guy on a leaf. Looks to me to be an Assassin Bug nymph? Am I correct?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon
We agree that this is an Assassin Nymph, and we believe more specifically a Zelus Assassin. We hope it doesn’t eat the hatchling.
Thanks for the confirmation. I believe this is Zelus renardii, as we’ve seen quite a few of them in past.
We have milkweed in more than one planter, and this nymph wasn’t in the same as the hatchling. Hopefully the little guy will have a chance to build up the necessary toxins in its body before it encounters an assassin bug, nymph or adult!
I forgot to tell you that you crack me up! I love your title for the posting of the Monarch caterpillar & assassin bug nymph.
We like to have fun while attempting to provide helpful information.
UPdate: October 15, 2013
In light of this Opinion piece from the Boston Globe sent to us by Clare Marter Kenyon, it might be critical for Monarch butterfly populations to have more people who live on migratory routes to plant milkweed.
Letter 19 – Monarch Laying Eggs
Hello Again, I have never seen a monarch more determine than this one to land on the milkweed. And than I realized she was trying lay her eggs!
Take Care, Janet
Thanks for the image.