Earlier this summer, my husband planted milkweed in our yard around the side deck, in hopes that it would draw butterflies. And it worked! It's located right next to our Rose of Sharon and hibiscus plants (so we have tons of bees happily doing what they do best - pollinating :-)
We first noticed a rather large yellow and black striped caterpillar with a smaller one next to it, dining on the milkweed on August 14th. Here's a pic:
A couple of days later, the large caterpillar was nowhere to be found near the milkweed but ... was later spotted on the hibiscus, getting ready to head into stage two of it's life. Here's a pic from the morning of August 16th and the very next picture is amazingly from the evening that same day. Things were moving quickly for this little guy:
On August 20th, we started searching for the smaller caterpillar that was hanging out alongside the larger one and look! We found there were actually two!
And then, sadly, five days went by without seeing these two younger caterpillars and we thought for sure they had become bird food. But then, we went out on the deck on the evening of August 24th to enjoy the crisp night air and ... we found both of the little guys already in stage two of their lives on the same hibiscus as the first one!
We are sooooooooo delighted and appreciative that we're able to witness each of these stages of butterfly life. The waiting game rolls on! We keep checking on the chrysalis x 3 each day and I'll post pictures of any changes :-)
Ta-daaaah! Our first-found caterpillar has emerged! We think it's a male because of the small black dot on one of the lines on his wing. Do you see it?
My son watched for a couple of hours as he dried off and stretched his wings and then ... he took his first flight to a birch tree about 20 feet away!
What an incredible thing to see nature from beginning to end in the morphing of a caterpillar to a butterfly. This little guy has flown away and we never saw him again. But we're keeping a close eye on the other two chrysalis. Sadly though, one looks like it's infected and we don't expect it to make it to the butterfly stage :-(
I'll keep you updated!