This caterpillar is about to change into a chrysalis. The change will be so great — and so sudden— that you'll think a new creature has appeared before your eyes.
- Watch for these clues: First the caterpillar will stop eating and climb to a safe place. Then it will hang upside down in the shape of a "J." That means the larva will pupate within 24 hours.
It only takes a few minutes for a caterpillar to turn into a chrysalis. Don't miss it! You can wait all day, turn away for a minute, then come back to find a chrysalis hanging where the caterpillar had been.
- Watch for this clue: When the front tentacles wilt you know the larva should pupate very soon, probably within 30 minutes.
Here comes the magical moment. The following 93 pictures were taken within a span of 7 minutes. What will happen to the caterpillar's eyes, mouth, face, and legs? Where will the gold necklace of the chrysalis come from? Press the button below to see.
The chrysalis is only a few minutes old in the picture below, but you can already see parts of a butterfly. "By the time the larva pupates, the major changes to the adult form have already begun," says Dr. Karen Oberhauser. Can you see the butterfly's future wings? Where do you think its eyes, head, legs and antannae will be? The adult butterfly will come out of the chrysalis after about two weeks.
Where does the skin split?
Watch from underneath!
How does the chrysalis get the air it needs?
Move mouse back and forth on photo. The holes on the side of the chrysalis are called "spiracles."
"The air goes into these holes and through a whole series of tubes in the body called trachea. The trachea carry oxygen throughout the monarch's body," says Dr. Karen Oberhauser.
Did You Know?
- The chrysalis is not a cocoon. A moth forms a cocoon. A butterfly forms a chrysalis.
- The chrysalis is also called the pupa. The process of changing from larva to chrysalis is called pupation.
- The final molt (shedding skin) of the monarch larva results in the chrysalis. "So the chrysalis is not so much something that they make as it is something that they turn into," says Dr. Oberhauser.
- The green coloring of the monarch pupa, or chrysalis, is the actual skin of the monarch during this stage.