Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle: A Metamorphosis ~ Part Two ~ Jeweled Chrysalis

Though I greatly enjoy and respect the antics and heroics of the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, the chrysalis or pupa stage of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle offers delectable candy for the imagination. 
The beautiful jewel like ornaments studded with what appears to be gold hang beneath leaf or twig completely vulnerable to the goings on around them. 
While breezes blow and rain and sun soak the landscape, hundreds of Monarch and other butterfly chrysalises hang hidden from view . . . so we must tread carefully in wild places and let our own land be allowed to grow somewhat wild too. 
We would not want to interrupt dreams . . . dreams of becoming free to fly to heights never before explored. 
Within fourteen days the ongoing metamorphosis is seen inside the clear casing of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis. 
Colors begin to appear filling out the forms of wings. 
The metamorphosis is truly one of natures marvels yielding hope and inspiration, as well as, beneficial and beautiful butterflies. 

It seems so miraculous to look upon a Monarch caterpillar imagining what is hidden beneath the black-stripped skin. 
The color of the chrysalis can be seen between the black stripes close to the caterpillar head. 

In the photographs above and below the yellow stripes of the caterpillar still remain distinguishable in the one hour or so neatly formed chrysalises. 
Soon they will vanish into a hue of pale jade green. 
The yellow, white and black necklaces that link back to the colors of the caterpillar and milkweed are clearly visible. 
Note the tidy black lines that only underline the white pearls beneath the solid line of yellow. 
Pure ornamentation? 
A tiny metaphor or token for a caterpillar who played its important part in the process?

Caterpillars like to hang close together and allow us to clearly see the differences between a one and two day old chrysalis. 
Yellow and white turn to gold, an alchemical elixir to reflect the sun and blind any predators from seeing the pupa. 
Perhaps just magic for the sake of beauty and joy. 

All signs of a caterpillar vanish into a green cellular soup within a hardened clear casing.
Life forms within the shadows too.

In about twelve days the colorful patterned wings begin to show through the clear casing.
A window into the miracle of an intricate matrix molding life.

Can you see the proboscis, legs and antennae? 

Just as the teeny caterpillar was trapped in a clear casing . . . now the butterfly must exit its tight fitted casing into the larger world, only now it has no mandibles equipped for chewing but strong legs and abdomen will push and wiggle causing the chrysalis sheath to yield . . .  opening on the template lines of its finely etched design. 
Part Three of Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle: A Metamorphosis will reveal emerging butterflies. 

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