Thus far this summer we have seen a few Monarch butterflies and numerous caterpillars on the various milkweed plants around our house. But unlike the past few years - when we raised captive caterpillars on protected potted milkweeds, which allowed us to then have them form chrysalides, and eventually be released as Monarch butterflies - I was not able to do the same this year because of hip replacement surgery earlier this summer.
Instead, this summer we've simply observed the numerous caterpillars and occasional butterflies outside. The caterpillars have done well as they devour our milkweeds and work through their instars. But when it comes time to J-hook, they disappear. And as such, we have not been able to find any chrysalides ... until today. I spotted a chrysalis hanging under our deck. I know that Monarch caterpillars can crawl quite a distance before finding a place to J-hook. But this one apparently did more climbing than crawling.
On the left side of the included photograph, the chrysalis appears as a tiny dot (circled in orange) hanging from the southern crossbeam of our deck. That's over 10 feet off the ground. Toward the bottom of the photograph you can see some of the (mostly swamp, with a couple of common) milkweeds from which we assume the caterpillar traveled before J-hooking under our deck.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the right-hand close-up portion of the photograph, I do not think we'll be seeing a butterfly emerge here. The chrysalis appears somewhat wrinkled, and the inside looks more brown than orange.
Latitude: 40.9 Longitude: -77.8
Observed by: R. Timothy
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