Friday, September 18, 2009

It's A Girl?

Today was the day. The monarch emerged sometime after 11:30. We missed the actual event, arriving home in time to take the picture above. What had started out to be a sunny day became over cast and threatening. Strong wind gusts and scattered rain caused us great concern. The butterfly hung on the mallow close to the chrysalis for several hours.

Such a beautiful and complicated creature. This butterfly, born at the stone wall garden, will feed then head south. If she makes it through the entire migration , she will spend the winter in Mexico. We are located near the confluence of two valleys. Topography concentrates the migrating butterflies as they fly over us. We have seen no signs indicating that the migration is underway. For now our butterfly is free to feed on our flowers in preparation for her journey. How she knows this is a mystery to me.

It was after 4:00 when I finally got a chance to catch her with open wings.
Mature males display two dark scent glands visible on the wings. The absence of these markings suggests that ours is female but reproductive organs are incompletely developed at this stage. Whatever the reality we will look for a bright new Monarch tomorrow and wish her well when it is time for her to leave.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Congratulations Becky! She is beautiful! Will we ever know how she knows?!

Anonymous said...

They have a fascinating life cycle alright. Your photos are really nice. Did you add your info to the Monarch Migration Map? There is a link on my sidebar.

Sunita said...

Becky, she's sooo beautiful! I just cant get over how similar your Monarchs are to our Striped Tigers! (If you want to see one go to my post at: )

Bailey said...

Aunt Becky,
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! In a few week we will be discussing the life cycle of a butterfly in my second grade science class and your blog will be a great introduction to it all. We will be raising our own butterflies from catapillars. However, it will be a controlled environment. It will be nice for them to see photos of them in nature the was it really happens. Thanks Again, Sandy