Today may mark the end of the monarch butterfly season in my yard. This pupa is the very last that I’ve found. He attached himself to the end post of the rail on my front steps on September 22nd.

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss caterpillar in J shape
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar Danaus plexippuss in J shape preparing to pupate

Then shed his caterpillar skin, leaving it perched on top of his pupa form like a funny little hat.

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss pupa
Monarch Butterfly Pupa Danaus plexippuss with shed caterpillar skin on top

I’ve been checking on him regularly. Last night I saw that he was getting close to emerging.

Monarch Butterfly pupa Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Pupa Danaus plexippuss

I was a little worried about him because he attached sideways instead of hanging directly under something- but he obviously knew what he was doing. Here is what I found this morning.

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss chrysalis
Monarch Butterfly Empty Chrysalis Danaus plexippuss

He was stretching his wings right below.

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss

There were a few years where we didn’t see any monarchs in our yard at all, and I didn’t know if they would ever return. Still, we always left the milkweed- carefully mowing around it wherever it popped up. Last year we had a few monarchs, but this year, I’ve seen more in our yard than ever before. It makes me think there is hope for other creatures that are disappearing. In celebration of a great monarch year, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite monarch images. Hope you have a great weekend!

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss wing
Close up of Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss wing as it unfurls after pupating
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss almost disappears when it closes its wings
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss hanging from chrysalis
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
This Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss surprised me by pupating deep within my azalea. I did not know it was there until it emerged.
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss
Another surprise Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss who pupated under a banana leaf and emerged next to a tiny unidentified caterpillar.
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss in sky
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippuss high in the sky, heading south- safe travels!

For more monarch posts:

https://yardgonewild.net/2018/09/07/milkweed-rules/

https://yardgonewild.net/2018/09/19/its-a-girl/ with a video of a Monarch emerging

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