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Nature provides us with a free-to-view window into the world of extraordinary transformation every day, if we will take a moment to pause and take a look.
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.
The primary job of the adult stage is to reproduce – to mate and lay the eggs that will become the next generation. Females begin laying eggs right after their first mating, and both sexes will mate several times during their lives. Adults in summer generations live from two to five weeks. Each year, the final generation of Monarchs, which emerges in late summer and early fall, has an additional job: to migrate to their overwintering grounds, in central Mexico for eastern Monarchs. Male and female Monarchs can be distinguished easily. Males have a black spot on a vein on each hind wing that is not present on the female. These spots are made of specialized scales which produce a chemical used during courtship in many species of butterflies and moths, although such a chemical does not seem to be important in Monarch courtship. The ends of the abdomens are also different in males and females, and females often look darker than males and have wider veins on their wings.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a hand full of Monarch butterflies in the Otago gardens even though we are approaching autumn in New Zealand. The Monarch is a great example of Autumn colours.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 April 13th 2011 Otago New Zealand
Featured 16th April 2011
Featured April 2011
Autumn Beauty! – Monarch