I believe that one of the most stunning examples of transformation is the creation of a Monarch Butterfly. To even attempt to imagine what is actually taking place inside the Chrysalis can cause one’s brain to hurt.
Let’s stop and look at the facts for a moment:
-A butterfly lays a microscopic egg on the underside of a plant
-The egg hatches into a teeny-tiny caterpillar that would fit onto the head of a pin
-The caterpillar consumes the egg, then the leaf, and grows very rapidly
-It attaches itself to a branch of the plant, morphs into a Chrysalis
-Then it emerges as a stunning, perfectly formed Monarch Butterfly!
How on earth does a caterpillar, turn into a semi-liquid, then re form into a butterfly?
How does it know “which bit goes where?”
This has to be one of the most miraculous examples of transformation on earth!
In order to witness and record this state-of-the-art transformation first hand, we have acquired a Swan Plant (Milkweed), complete with caterpillars, and will be photographing and releasing images onto RedBubble as the action happens.
I hope you enjoy our journey through the life cycle of a Monarch Butterfly.
The Caterpillar attached itself to the Swan Plant Leaf with a bit of silk and transform into a Chrysalis a few hours later. Two days later the white markings on the new Chrysalis turns gold as seen in Morphed into a Chrysalis.
The gold spots on the Monarch chrysalis are a mystery that has inspired much curiosity. The gold color is produced not by a pigment, but by structural iridescence. In other words, the metallic luster you see results from the refraction of light from the multiple laminae (layers) of the cuticle of the pupa. The multiple colors seen when oil is spilled on water are produced in the same way. In an attempt to determine the function of these gold spots, Fred Urquhart conducted a series of controlled experiments in the early 1970s. He found that the destruction of these spots caused the wing scales to fade, or reduced the number of scales on the head or abdomen, depending on which spots were destroyed. From this he concluded that the gold spots are associated with scale formation and pigmentation; however, we still do not understand specifically how the gold spots influence these aspects of development. It is possible that the gold spots represent major sites of organization for wing tissue and/or epidermal cells.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Jan. 19th 2011
Go For Gold! – Morphed Chrysalis Monarch
Morphed into a Chrysalis! – Monarch Chrysalis
Instar! – Extraordinary Transformation! – Monarch Caterpillar
The Dark Crystal
Caterpillar To Wings