Captured here is a time-lapse movie of the lifespan of a Monarch butterfly, condensing about two weeks of activity into a short video clip. I kept the caterpillar in a jar supplied with milkweed leaves and ventilation through holes punched in the lid. After days of munching on the leaves, it's interesting to observe the caterpillar 's circling behavior the day before transforming into a chrysalis, although the actual formation of the chryslis occurred at night and is not shown in the video.

When releasing the butterfly into a nearby field, you can see the wings are still damp as it flicks its wings and twitches before resting on leaf to finish drying.

From Monarch Butterfly - USA:
The total time frame for one butterfly's life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks . . . egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 - 6 weeks.


Be sure to also check out my photo gallery of the Butterfly Place in nearby Westford, MA.

Catepillar Transformation
Time-lapse webcam photography captures the highlights of catepillar activity and chrysalis over a 2 week period, condensed to about a minute and half.






Release into the Wild
Upon emerging as a Monarch butterfly, I released it in Concord, MA in a field near the Minuteman park.