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  Monarch Butterfly
- 2006 -

Flowers with Wings are Butterflies

2006 Grand Total  =  (not really keep count)

    For the past few years I have had a small area of my backyard set aside for a stand of Milkweed in hopes of Monarch Butterflies would use it for breeding, however there was little evidence they were.  A Monarch Butterfly would often be seen flying around them but did not see any caterpillars.  This year spoke to Christine Hucker about this and she said I should "milk" the Milkweed of the Monarch eggs and keep them safe so the caterpillars can grow up, make it through their cocoons to become real butterflies.  More about her past efforts here.

    This year there were many eggs laid and some evidence of very young caterpillars eating the leaves but they all seem to disappear very fast, wonder what is happening & what is eating them - if you know let me know.

    The media shows up - Rogers Cable 10 News - First Local.

    The first molt.

    The first cocoon.

    The first Butterfly.

    The Grand Release.

How to make a Monarch Butterfly garden
get free
Butterfly Bush!

Thanks to Mississauga Community Support.


Monarch Butterfly Rescue
in Mississauga
View pictures of other Years Successes.
Their discoveries - improvements - surprises
- the joy, smiles of the community and their children.

The YouTube site videos are posted.

Other web-sites dealing with Monarch Butterflies.

The small area in my backyard set aside for a stand of Milkweed in hopes of Monarch Butterflies would use it for breeding.

Just resting after-during the mating flight.

Aug 2-06, a pair of Monarch Butterflies breeding on a Milkweed in my little stand of them.

Do believe this is a Monarch Butterfly laying an egg on the underside of a leaf.

Aug. 2 & 4, 2006

An egg beside a penny to show height.

The egg of a Monarch Butterfly, they are laid one at a time with the female holding on to the side the leaf and reaching under the leaf with her abdomen and lays the egg.  From what I have seen it will usually be close to the edge but not always.

Not often I see 2 eggs together, so close.

The first set-up for my aquarium with a dish & Flora Foam. It was suggested that Flora Foam be used to keep the leaves from drying out longer.  However, in the dish that it is placed there is likely to be some water pooling and think a caterpillar fell in so not like this idea.  Also, it is hard to get a large number of leaves into it and still be workable.

Aug. 5, 2006

My first Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, each one is about a day older than other and one on the left almost just hatched.

The lazy mans way to volume Monarch Butterfly egg hatching.  As the leaves were full of eggs for the past couple weeks and evidence of caterpillars eating leaves for bit BUT no caterpillars, something had to be eating them.  Had to gather as many eggs as could hatch and raise them to make sure become  Monarch Butterflies.

This method is not just thrown leaves in an aquarium and hope for the best.  It was a careful piling of leaves with eggs to make sure spaces any way could get, often lean them on side of the aquarium.  The adding of leaves without eggs to help keep the other moist or from drying out.  It takes a few days for them to hatch and this is important, as the first leaf the caterpillar is going to eat is the one it is on.  Have to very carefully look over the leaves once a day or couple days, to find caterpillars and put in different area.  I just used a plate and made sure the leaves were fresh twice a day.  Make sure there are no bugs on the leaves too.  In the early days these caterpillars will not be roaming around, they know they are to stay on what they need to eat.  Did not even put screen over top at this point, but I do not have to worry about things getting in, another reason for a screen.  In only a few more days they did start to climb the glass walls for no apparent  reason.  Not a good idea to keep in same room as you sleep, Milkweed smells a bit.

Once the majority of the eggs are hatched they can go in the same aquarium.  I would do what I could to make sure the leaves were in the sun or bright light but not so much as to really dry the leaves out in a day.  Even add leaves during the day to help slow down the drying process.  Another reason to have your own stand of Milkweed handy.

Aug. 6, 2006

3 eggs and a ruler.

Believe the egg in the middle has not hatched and ones on ends are empty.

Evidence of very young caterpillars eating the leaves but where do they go?

A closer look at a new born Monarch Butterfly and the way it eats a Milkweed leaf.

A nice group shot - smile!

This time with an egg, to show the early days.

Aug. 7, 2006

Over at Christine Hucker's, this is the aquarium she uses to raise Monarch butterflies and caterpillars in.

A close up showing the Flora Foam.

Here is a new born caterpillar.  So small it not even able to eat through the leaf yet, just the soft underside.

Her blind turtle says hello.

Aug. 8, 2006

The first 5 caterpillars are doing well.

A days worth of eating.

Some times the leaves dry out.  Have to keep changing the leaves and look over the old ones to make sure the caterpillars are moved to new juicy leaves.

From the pile of leaves in my aquarium - 22 NEW CATERPILLARS.  I removed the small section of the leaves it was on and carefully placed it on a fresh leave, in a pile of fresh leaves.

Aug. 9, 2006

The wee family is growing.

Here are some very close pictures using a film camera and the depth of field or the range of focus is only about 2 mm.

The young Monarch caterpillar has a very small black head or black head capsule.  It comes off just after they have molted, their tentacles will look droopy, and you may see the old skin behind the larva.  They will could even eat this skin!

Here is a good before picture showing the black head capsule.

Caught in the act!  The old molted skin is coming off the end of the caterpillar.

Another angle.

This is just after the molt and you can see the small black head (capsule), is gone and a larger head is clearly seen but the black stripes have not come in yet - its front feet are the same way.

In this head on picture after a molt the black stripes can be seen.

A real close up on an egg.

A closer look at a caterpillar only a few days old.

Aug. 10, 2006

Suddenly, couple of the bigger caterpillars get wanderlust and have to put a screen on top of aquarium.

Still lots of little ones and some eggs to.

The older ones are doing fine to.

Aug. 11, 2006

Munchy - Munchy, the mouth work is never done!

Still Monarch butterflies in the area, in fact 3 today.

Here is another one having a quick meal on a large clover flower.

Aug. 12, 2006

Again one climbs up the glass and here is a good shot of Monarch caterpillar feet.  Note it appears to still have its  black head capsule.

Even as the leaves are being changed, it is no reason to stop eating!

The gang of smaller ones is doing well and one new born.

Another egg shot.

The simple set up and leaves for the next day, without screen and not left in sun or outside.  The caterpillars & Milkweed leaves, do not like the direct sun.  The caterpillars appear to do a lot of eating at night.

Aug. 13, 2006

Very surprising to see a caterpillar so small go wandering up the aquarium side.  They like to secure themselves with silk all the time, no matter how small, makes it a bit to move them around from leaf to leaf.

Another picture of a molted caterpillar, very small and note its head, black strip has not come in yet.

This egg is about to hatch, you can see the black dot at the top which is its head.

A molted skin from a larger Caterpillar.

The black head capsule left over from a molt - bring me his head capsule on a silver platter!

The big guys are doing well and the biggest is even longer when stretches out.

The little guys - bit windy so not try to get them all in one shot.

Still got some eggs to hatch.

Aug. 14, 2006

Here we go - the biggest caterpillar showing how much it can eat in a day.
A good close up to.

A couple new borns and this one beside its old egg.

Here is the gang of small ones, found 3 dead ones and still a few more eggs to hatch.

Another head capsule left over from a molt.

The big guys are doing well.

Aug. 15, 2006

A newly molted caterpillar is wearing its old head capsule as a hat.

Big guys doing well.

A nice close-up of one of the big guys.

The smaller guys.  Going to cut the leaves up to move them from old to flesh leaves as not have to use a small twig to so and they like to attach selves with silk all the time so it makes it hard & not want to hurt them.  Bit windy so not try get all in one shot and harder now that they are on little green wind sails, if you know what I mean.

Yes time to get to work eating & no that is not all the same caterpillar.

As they are showing an interest in climbing, put a Milkweed stock in for that.


The first cocoon, done sometime during the day.  A pleasant surprise to come home to and thought the caterpillars would have gotten bigger before going to cocoon.

Aug. 16, 2006

Big guy is still hanging in there - what is taking you so long to do your cocoon thing?

No time like the present to chew a hole.  When I clean out the aquarium, put the caterpillars on a leaf and one on top to keep the sun off.

The big guys but where was the other one?  Each time clean aquarium, seems I find one small one dead but not find a big one dead.
So took a close look around where keep aquarium in basement.

AWOL - caterpillar!  Found it on the side of the dryer.  This shot has really good colour.

When a caterpillar wants to stretch out, it can.

A really good right after molt shot to shot yellow head and hay guy isn't that your old head behind you?

Small guys and some are on the back of the leaf.

The hanging caterpillar appeared to be doing nothing so decided to put the aquarium in the green house so it could get some heat but no direct sunlight & about 20 minutes later, the caterpillar had gone to Chrysalis!  It shed its old skin in the process.  I am so proud.


Aug. 17, 2006

A cocoon that fell off from where-ever and found on bottom of aquarium, interesting to see if it hatches.  A good shot that shows the jewels on the side of cocoon.

Picture with ruler.  Notice the yellow ribs, that were the folds between their body segments, those colours disappear.

The molted skin from just after going to cocoon.  They do it very fast and do not spin a cocoon. They hang for a while and suddenly start to lash around, their skin splits off and the cocoon is underneath.

The first cocoon, notice how smooth it has gotten.

Big guy will soon be in cocoons.

The next group and some are on the underside of leaf.

Evening - Another caterpillar goes to Chrysalis.

Aug. 18, 2006

Just after going to cocoon it is still wiggle around trying to get rid of its old skin, even though it has fallen off.  Note how broad the yellow sections/ribs are.

See how much difference a day can make?

The fallen one looks a bit wrinkled.

The B-team caterpillars are doing fine.

Changes are fast.

Aug. 19, 2006

The one that is on the screen.  Shows the jewels in almost a circle at bottom, like a face.

Some kind of wound on the side of the Chrysalis, do not know how that happened.

Some kind of black marks on the side of this Caterpillar in 2 places.

B-team getting bigger.

Aug. 20, 2006

Another caterpillar want a place on the screen, took it off last night and back it came.  Too windy to clean aquarium outside.

Team work can make a leaf disappear.  They do like to eat a lot after dark, so much you can hear it.

But it can get messy.

The one that fell is not looking too good.

Opps, ran out of leaf.

When caterpillars attack!  Often they run into each other and then there is much head & tentacles waving before moving away from each other.

First two Chrysalis, wounded one looks no worse then before but who knows.

The B team.

In the aquarium with fresh leaves - BEFORE.

Aug. 21, 2006

AFTER - 24 hours later.

They are still hanging in there - sun not on table so lighting bad.

Member of the B team going for cocoon.

This is the caterpillar with malformed sides.

The B team - 15.

Aug. 22, 2006

The rush is on to cocoon.

Last of the B team - soon to cocoon.

Can't decide whether to climb on to the screen for cocooning or not.

Now this is a good place to cocoon.

In the evening of the same day.

Aug. 23, 2006

Here the caterpillars are first thing, on this important day that we hope there will be some caterpillars left.
Good colour shot can see difference between the age of difference cocoons.

Turn your back for just a mount and one goes to cocoon!

Still a couple of big ones left to be the stars of the show.

Their cast-off last caterpillar skins from their molt to Chrysalis.

What is this?  The media shows up - Rogers Cable 10 News - First Local.  It was broadcasted on Aug. 24 and repeated over the weekend as they recap the past week.  Shame they did not note that this web-page existed.

Here I am being interviewed and the three kids from next door were interviewed as they help collect the eggs and took a great interest in caterpillar events.

Aug. 24, 2006

Well down to the last couple caterpillars. 

Good shot of just before cocooning molt.  Shows how the colours near its head get washed out.  Its tentacles look dried out.  Right close to the end that is holding on to the screen with some skin looks transparent and can see green underneath.  Looks like its fluids travel to head end of body.

Hard to capture the gold colour of the jewel spots on the cocoon but can see better in this picture.

The first two still hanging in there.

The one that fell and it is wrinkled, still hope it makes it.

Waited for over an hour to see a caterpillar molt into a Chrysalis with time to leave for work fast approaching, was giving up hope but NO, my wishes were answered.  Putting it out in the sun did help the whole process.

Note how the skin breaks along its back and there is the cocoon.
Note to self reason for hating auto-focus digital cameras.  1 - they will sometimes focus on things in the far background even when set to deal with things very small close up.  As sun was behind me, the view screen was hard to see and used the view finder but camera focused on things 10 feet into the back ground!  Still got enough good shots.

There is a cocoon behind this shot but can see how the cocoon explodes out of skin and forces the skin up.

Another shot after other.

Head has come off and can see what part of Chrysalis will become what.

Lighting not so great due to screen but you get the idea.

Just before it wiggles its old skin off.  Rest of pictures no good as focused on lawn chairs in background.

Aug. 25, 2006

Well the whole gang is just hanging around.  Now all we can do is just wait.

Aug. 26, 2006

And waiting ....

Aug. 27, 2006

We have butterfly!  13 days after going to cocoon the first Monarch Butterfly has emerged.  Last night I made a mental note to take very close pictures its cocoon as could see dark shapes in it.  Well should have done it then .... so much for long wait.

The first shot, can see fluids below from right after coming out.

You can see the wings of the Monarch Butterfly to be inside the Chrysalis.

Outside waiting for it to make its first flight.

Flapping wings, etc., to get ready for flight.

It jumps or flutter short hops here and there before big flight.

Just before big flight - right into  which has way more flowers then we do.  Note to self - need more flowers.
The 2 spots on its wings means it is a male.

Aug. 28, 2006

The next cocoons in line, this is the wounded one.  Talked to expert and yes Monarch caterpillars will put the bite on their own cocoons, for some reason.

The one that fell, later hung it up on a threads - surprised that it has made it far to becoming a Monarch Butterfly.

Hmmmmm ... one of these cocoons or Pupa or Chrysalis is different.

Just before it bursts out of its chrysalis, the skin of the chrysalis goes clear and you can see the butterfly inside - waiting to be.
No wonder they call it (sometimes), a chrysalis.

Just born - FREE.

A real good sharp close-up and speaking of which, check out its toes!

What is this?  It is moving up my arm!

This hairy back butterfly is crawling up my arm, WHY.

Is it going for my neck?

Took over to the neighour's backyard for release and it starts up a flower stalk.

At last - the Happy hunting ground & where the eating is good.

No spots on its wings and darker veins on its wings means it is a female.  First 2 are Adam & Eve, sure why not?

Aug. 29, 2006

2 have taken flight - 16 chrysalis to go.

The wounded one still looks like it can make it, but what do I know?

The one that fell and had a couple wounds in it, hung up and hoped but looking inside could see the body was shrinking away from the wall of the chrysalis and the brown fluid that it passes once it was brakes out of the chrysalis, appeared inside.  Seeing that I cut off the end.


The chrysalis was very tough but cut off part without hurting it and used a Q-tip & water to clean off its end, very carefully as know it breaths through its abdomen.  Thought it was dead at first, however it moved, so some hope for the fallen one.

Aug. 30, 2006

Fairly sure the fallen one is now dead & not much change with others.

Aug. 31, 2006

Sneaky one - did not even see the chrysalis turn black and suddenly there is a Monarch Butterfly (female).

Rearing to go.

Face to face.

Life on the side of a flower.
This picture also became an election sign.           

Those that remain.

The wounded one still slowly turning black.

The fallen one, laid to rest in the Milkweed patch.

Sept. 1, 2006

Evening shot.  Looks like 4 are going to make a break for it tomorrow, their chrysalis is darkening up.

Good close up.

Sept. 2, 2006

It was a dark & stormy day - hurricane ERNESTO, now a tropical storm, was going through the Toronto area and far too windy and rainy to let the butterflies go.  So naturally there are 4 breaking out of their chrysalis' at one time, don't you just hate when that happens?

Couple here just hanging around.

Couple ended up in small tray in the aquarium.  They get every where!

Flowers for the monarch Butterflies or food.  Read that they can go a day without food after coming out of their chrysalis but no reason to test that when a yard of flowers is so close.

Thinking the wounded one will not make it.

Sept. 3, 2006

3 of the 4 ready to go.  3 females and 1 male.

A volunteer from the audience lends a helping hand.

Another helping hand is appreciated to aid in the drying of wings for flight.

The Butterfly banquet.

The remaining chrysalis in normal light, notice how dark they look.

Same using flash to show the inside of the chrysalis', their wings etc.
6 have come out of their chrysalis and 10 should be coming out today, bit cool after whole day of rain.

Later that day - they come out on mass!

7 just hanging around.

Really hoped to see a Monarch butterfly come out of a chrysalis, as it happened so fast, easy to miss, but as taking pictures of the others noticed one chrysalis was looking a bit oddly shaped.  There it was - a Monarch Butterfly being born!

Camera of hell - pictures are too dark for some reason.
A just out of a chrysalis / cocoon see how small the wings and how big the abdomen is.  The fluids in the abdomen is pumped into its wings.


Wings get big fast, just a few minutes.

Another to show the wings just about fully inflated.
10 have their wings & only one left.

Sept. 4, 2006


10 Monarch Butterflies to be set free.

Even with the lid off, they needed some help to find their way to the sky.


So small, in such a big sky.

Still time for a close up.

One more bundle of joy left.

Sept. 5, 2006

And then there was none.

The last Monarch Butterfly - a male - is making it clear time to fly.  He came out of his chrysalis late yesterday and let go early today.
18 Monarch Butterflies, far more than would likely have gotten their wings, if left in the wild to fend for themselves.

On the wing.

The empty chrysalis'.

Sept.7, 2006

Have posted a picture of almost all aspects of a Monarch Butterflies life (locally), but not how they feed and now have.

As I drive around Mississauga there are hundreds of Monarch Butterflies to be seen flying across the roads and intersections, a very good year for them indeed.  Was told by one of the many people who care about nature in Mississauga that by the Port Credit library in the new park they were gathering.  And yes lots by the Credit River, such a treat to see - for those who are looking.

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