This will be the last installment of readers’ photos until Monday. In the meantime, feel free to send me your good photos (hi resolution, in focus, etc.)
Reader Marilee Lovit sent a beautiful sequence of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) eclosing from their pupae. Her caption is indented:
The close-up of a chrysalis’s apex shows the ridges that become pronounced shortly before the butterfly emerges. I think this is from pressure of the body segments, the body being in the top of the chrysalis. The lower part of the chrysalis starts to split open and the butterfly slides down head first.
Suddenly the body flops out and down, but it does not cause the butterfly to plummet to the ground because the rear legs are somehow hooked onto the inner part of the chrysalis. The body flopping out results in the butterfly briefly being upside down, but it quickly gets its front legs out from the chrysalis and hooked onto the outer part of the chrysalis, righting itself into a good position for remaining there while its wings expand, and more must be happening as well, before it can fly away. The wings must have this time to finish forming.
Twice this year I saw newly emerged butterflies that had fallen to the ground. They could not fly and were struggling in the grass. They grabbed onto my offered finger, and I transported them to a secure place, where they remained for the necessary time. Emergence from the chrysalis and getting a proper grip on it, takes about 2 minutes. The butterfly remains hanging on for an hour or more. The photos were all in early September near the coast of Downeast Maine.