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There's always something going on on our rush milkweed plants.

We've been watching a chrysalis that's attached to one of the stems. Can you guess what kind of butterfly it belongs to?

This morning it had darkened up and the shape had changed.

Sure enough, a wrinkly butterfly emerged.

 

Can you recognize it now?

On a nearby plant, this female queen butterfly laid eggs for the next generation.

We'll have more to watch next week.

Arizona's seasons are often out of sync, especially in the Sonoran Desert. When everyone else is shutting down and getting ready for fall and winter, our wildlife is gearing up. A few weeks ago, we featured some insect eggs. Now we have caterpillars and chrysalids galore.

queen-caterpillar-small

Take this larva of a queen butterfly resting on a rush milkweed. It is taking advantage of the new growth the plants are putting out after recent rains.

queen-chrysalis-003Some of the faster developing larvae have already transformed into chrysalids. They will soon be adult queen butterflies.

skipper-on-cordiaThe skipper butterflies have already reached adulthood and are ready to lay eggs again.

Check out this post by Margarethe Brummermann who says there were 28 species of butterflies (as well as other insects) in Madera Canyon this week. She also posted an amazing video on Flickr.

 What insects did you see this week?

This week all the caterpillars from the last two weeks have disappeared. But don't be sad, because now they are chrysalises.

The queen butterfly forms within this delicate green structure with gold beading. It looks a lot like the monarch butterfly chrysalis.

I am happy to report the queen butterfly from this chrysalis successfully emerged and flew away.

The orange dog caterpillar formed a chrysalis that would be well camouflaged on the bark of the tree.

This one is still transforming inside.

What about the tobacco hornworm? It has formed a pupa, but it is hard to show you because hornworms pupate in the soil.

Related Activity:  Investigate where butterflies and moths spend the winter.

Different butterflies and moths may spend the winter as eggs, larvae, chrysalises, cocoons or adults. See if you can find some of these.