Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis

Caterpillar

A monarch butterfly caterpillar about to turn into a chrysalis

caterpillar-chrysalis

I have been growing swan plants for quite a few years because I like having monarch butterflies around. I’ve seen the butterflies hatch a few times but until now I had never seen a caterpillar change into a chrysalis. I would always see the caterpillar when it was hanging upside down, ready to change and then the next time I would look it would somehow be a chrysalis and I never understood how it did it. I guess I should have just looked on the internet, it has the answer to everything but sometimes it is nice to see things for yourself.

So when I saw that I had one that was going to change I set up my camera so I could do a time lapse of it, this way there was no way I could miss it. It turns out that the green chrysalis forms under the caterpillars skin and then breaks out. The part where it breaks out only takes about 10 minutes, so I didn’t really need the 5 hours worth of time lapse photos I had taken where nothing happens. The animated gif doesn’t show how much it moved when it was shedding its skin, I think it would probably be better to video and speed it up, the tricky part is knowing when it’s going to happen.