A friend who is a 1st grade school teacher was collecting monarch butterfly caterpillars to show her class and she was very generous in giving me a couple to video for my blog. They were high energy, eating lots of the milkweed (chemicals in the milkweed are toxic to most animals and make the caterpillars toxic to most predators). Then the caterpillar crawled under a leaf and went completely still for a couple of hours (double click on any pic for a larger view):
The caterpillar then began to contract and expand, flexing its muscles up and down its body, its color turning greener and greener. It looked like it was doing crunches… for over an hour! How it had the energy to keep flexing is beyond me. Finally from the head it started to turn green. This green capsule flowed totally over its body until it had encased itself in this green, hard chrysalis. The chrysalis is a work of art! The video shows this incredible transformation:
I will try to get some video of the emerging butterfly in 10 days, stay tuned!