Dear Monarch neighbors,
At last, I finally found a chrysalis on the back of a rocking chair on my porch. I will keep looking and will hopefully find a few more. Here’s some chrysalis information for you to ponder:
- The gold spots on the chrysalis are not metallic but reflect light. All danaine (milkweed family) have metallic coloring at least somewhere on their chrysalides (yes, that is the plural of chrysalis) – either silver, copper or gold.
- The chrysalis is the pupa stage of the insect. The pupa stage is immobile.
- The pupa stage is not cell soup! Many adult features are present as tiny cell clusters even in the egg. The clusters grow and differentiate in the larva, and rearrange and develop further in the pupa. Some muscles do degenerate at the end of the larval stage and are replaced by new muscles that allow movement.
- The pupa stage can last 8-15 days under normal summer conditions.
- Just before adult monarchs emerge, their black, orange and white wing patterns are visible through the pupa covering. This is not because the pupa becomes transparent; it is because the pigmentation on the scales only develops at the very end of the pupa stage.
- Emergence often happens in the morning (though I did see a few emerge in the afternoon in previous years).
Yes, it is sadly a dismal year for monarchs. Experts have seen a decrease of 53% from 2019. The experts at Monarch Joint Venture say:
“While many were predicting a small decrease for the eastern population, this represents a more significant decline than expected. With habitat availability continuing to be a severe limiting factor, and severe weather increasing in frequency and variability, our efforts are critical to restore this population to a sustainable level. Thus, our message remains the same – efforts to create, enhance, and protect habitat for monarchs and pollinators must be scaled up. Each and every person can make a difference for monarchs in some way.”