Monarch Butterflies

A dear friend brought us two Monarch chrysalises hours away from hatching. And true enough, by the time I came home from the office an hour later, one had already hatched and was drying his wings. The other one, who had meanwhile become dislodged from its stick was starting to hatch. I apologize for the poor quality photos. It happened so fast that I couldn’t take good readings and the images therefore had to be manipulated so one could see it hatching.

Here, the emerging butterfly had split its chrysalis and was working on getting its legs free.
One antennae and two legs are free. Time to get out of this thing.
It used its forelegs to gain leverage on the casing as it pulled itself out.
Normally the insect would be hanging from a branch. Since this was was born on the ground it was unable to righten itself and would have died without assistance. I held the branch the chrysalis had originally hung on in front of the butterfly and it quickly held on for dear life.
Here is the butterfly moments after emerging from the chrysalis. Note the wrinkled wings.
The wings are gradually straightening out. Even once fully straightened out, the butterfly cannot fly for several more hours.
Later on that day, in the evening we released the butterflies. The first one flew away so fast I couldn’t photograph my daughter with it. But this one here stayed politely put.
The butterfly was placed on our phlox where sat pretty as a picture. I have since that day observed two Monarchs fluttering through my garden. I suspect it’s the same two that hatched in our home.


  1. Stunning photos! And I am so impressed you managed to ophotograph all this, I have tried it a few times but the poor butterflies died in front of me, even though I didn’t touch them at all. 😦 No idea why.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful photos! One thing to know, for The Sicilian Housewife; in the wild, only about 2% of butterflies make it, so having one or two that don’t make it is, tragically for the humans involved, normal. As for tips: if it is later in the season, the milkweed will be less nourishing. Summer is the best time for healthy monarchs, the end of August (in the US) is pushing it, as far as milkweed’s nutritive value is concerned. There will be healthy hatchlings, just a smaller percentage of them. I don’t know what your seasons are like in Sicily, you’d probably do better in May or June there, right? Good luck!

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