How long does it take for a monarch butterfly to come out of its chrysalis?
The monarch butterfly spends about two weeks as a chrysalis. The day before it ecloses, or emerges, the bright colors of its wings become visible. But how will the butterfly get out? Look carefully at this close-up view.
The process from egg to butterfly is weather dependent and also depends on the regional climate. It can take about four weeks in the peak of the summer in warmer climates. The egg takes 5 to 10 days, the larva/caterpillar and pupa/chrysalis each take about 10 to 14 days.
- How do butterflies mate? Male butterflies find females by sight, and use chemicals called pheromones at close range. The male passes a sperm packet called a spermatorphore to the female. The sperm then fertilize each egg as it passes down the female's egg-laying tube.
- This photograph is a picture of a first instar caterpillar of the butterfly species Papilio polytes (the Common Mormon). When a butterfly or moth larva (also known as a caterpillar) first hatches from its egg, it is very small! This young caterpillar is referred to as a FIRST INSTAR caterpillar.
- Females lay eggs 5 to 7 days after emerging from the chrysalis. The eggs hatch after three days. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and eat for 10 to 12 days before forming chrysalides. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalides in 7 to 10 days.
One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth. What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?
- Pupa and chrysalis have the same meaning: the transformation stage between the larva and the adult. While pupa can refer to this naked stage in either a butterfly or moth, chrysalis is strictly used for the butterfly pupa. A cocoon is the silk casing that a moth caterpillar spins around it before it turns into a pupa.
- Butterflies go through a life cycle that involves several stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The metamorphosis from a caterpillar into a butterfly occurs during the pupa stage. During this stage, the caterpillar's old body dies and a new body forms inside a protective shell known as a chrysalis.
- Caterpillars and adult butterflies both breathe through tiny pores called spiracles. From each spiracle, the blue tubes, called trachea, carry oxygen into the chrysalis. In green is the insect's air lumen, which functions like lungs in concert with the tracheae.
It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for a butterfly's wings to completely dry, this is usually varied according to size. After the wings have dried but before the butterfly will take its first flight it will dispel the excess meconium from its body.
- It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for a butterfly's wings to completely dry, this is usually varied according to size. After the wings have dried but before the butterfly will take its first flight it will dispel the excess meconium from its body.
- Chrysalises of certain butterflies can produce small sounds to frighten predators away. Butterfly wings are hollow. Once they come out of the chrysalis they will hang upside down while the wings fill with fluid. By doing this they use gravity to help their wings become stiff.
- Because it is difficult to keep a plant full of nectar producing flowers blooming indoors, most of us use an alternate food. There are many types of food that will feed butterflies well. Fruit juice, 15% honey water, 15% sugar water, or Gatorade are the easiest for us.
Updated: 1st October 2018