⇒Monarch butterfly – Wikipedia An in-depth Guide about Monarchs – description, life cycle, references, links, etc.
⇒ An entertaining, informative, beautifully done 90 second video by the US Fish and Wildlife Service can be viewed here.
The life cycle of a Monarch from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to adult Monarch.
Monarch eggs are the size of a pinhead, the emerging caterpillar isn’t much larger. The eggs are laid on the underside of a leaf and will hatch after 3-5 days. A 13 second time lapse video of a monarch caterpillar hatching from an egg can be see here.
The larvae/caterpillar stage takes 10-14 days and they only eat milkweed.
The caterpillar will climb to the top of the container, attach itself with a silken thread, will hang and form a J shape, and after a day will turn into a chrysalis in a few minutes.
The monarch will emerge in a few minutes usually between morning and noon, needs to hang so it can inflate its wings, and needs 4-5 hours to dry.
The male Monarch may be easily distinguished from the female by noting the two highly visible black spots on the insect’s hind wings and the thinner black webbing within the wings. The female’s webbing is thicker and she has no identifying wing spot as the male does.