I found a monarch caterpillar earlier this year.  I always seem to find the late bloomers and up until this time they had all been males.  Both male and female caterpillars look identical and they both form their chrysalis in the exact same way.  You can’t tell if you have a boy or girl until the monarch butterfly emerges and opens its wings.  The males have a different wing pattern than the females.  The most obvious difference is the males have two dark dots on the bottoms of their lower wings.  O.K.  That’s the science-y part of today’s blog.  Let’s move on to the beauty part.

Isn’t she lovely?  P was the first to discover that she had come out of her chrysalis and carefully brought her down for me to see on the end of a broken ruler.  I had guests over at the time and I’m sure they thought I was a bit nutty when Po (that’s what we named her when she was just an itty bitty caterpillar) opened her wings and I gushed over the fact that we finally had a girl.  They got a little science lesson (I’m still a homeschooler at heart!) and had a chance to watch her dry her wings and see me being very impatient with my camera wanting to get a shot with her wings open.  I’m sure that I looked like an idiot but I just had to get a shot of those wings with no black dots on them.

We carefully released her this morning but she’s still on the back deck letting me admire her for just a little longer.  It’s so easy to rear monarchs and they are just so gorgeous to look at in all their stages of life.  That and the opening of their wings for the first time can really make your day!

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