After locating my tags and tracking worksheet, I stuck a tag on this male's left hindwing and placed him outside on some brown-eyed Susans. He spent some time there getting used to the "real world" and when I checked back in about 10 minutes, he was gone.
There are still 8 more monarchs in the ranch to hatch. All of these were raised from eggs except #1 which was a full grown caterpillar I found out in the wildflower garden.
I'm always hesitant about choosing full-grown caterpillars from outside because of the possibility of parasitic flies or wasps that may have laid an egg in the caterpillar (remember that previous disappointment I posted on the swallowtail cocoon?) But this time, I think all is well with this monarch cocoon.
Here's a close-up of cocoon #1: Isn't it cool how you can see the veins of the butterfly's wings?
The empty cocoon to the right of this one is from the butterfly that just hatched.
I think it's just so miraculous that a caterpillar can change into a butterfly in only 2 weeks and that it all happens inside this tiny cocoon.
I love this time of year--there are butterflies everywhere right now! While I was mowing lawn this afternoon, I saw quite a few monarchs, cabbage whites, tiger swallowtails and even a few giant swallowtails. That was pretty cool!