The Adventures of Ralph Sean Green

By Donna Griffin

Ralph Sean Green is the coolest caterpillar you’ve ever seen.



He can change his skin.

He can change his shape.

He can change his color.




DSC_0243He eats a lot of milkweed leaves, chewing and chomping.

The caterpillar will eat most of the milkweed in the last few days before it turns into a chrysalis.




DSC_0264At first glance, he is just another thing crawling.

Slow. Small. Insignificant.

Catching the caterpillar changing into a chrysalis is the fun stage. The caterpillar will climb up to the lid of the cup and spin a silk structure to attach itself.

It will then hang down in a “J” shape for about a day.





What does he do when you’re not looking?

Maybe he…

Surfs the leaves.

Hangs out and bungees

Swoops down on the trapeeze

Or cha chas in his own conga line

dani logo


BE A DANI’S DREAMS REPORTER – What do you think Ralph Sean Green is doing as he is tucked inside his chrysalis? (Post your answer in the comment section below.)



20150815_134224He started as a speck of an egg on a milkweed leaf, ate his way to caterpillar size before performing his Hoodini hanging magic trick.

Before it becomes a chrysalis (pupates), the caterpillar will straighten and the antennae will become segmented. The color of the skin changes a bit. The caterpillar may move more. Once the process starts, the skin will split and the pupa will emerge. It takes about ½ hour to 1 hour to complete the transformation.







Hidden in a gold-ringed dome,DSC_0300

Ralph Sean Green will become a Monarch

The change is coming.

Wait for it…

The butterfly will be in the chrysalis stage for 9-14 days. The day before the butterfly emerges (ecloses) from the chrysalis, the chrysalis will turn black, and then becomes clear and you can see the butterfly inside.




A shiver, a tremble, a split

Ralph Sean Green falls out, and waits on his wings to dry.

Soon it will be time to take flight

On a journey toward the winter siesta.

Ralph Sean Green may not have a map but he knows where to go.

He knows his place

For thousands of miles, he stops to sip some nectar, and picks up traveling companions on the migration to Mexico’s mountaintops.

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they stay during the winter until the return flight in the spring.

The butterflies meet in the same place, during the same season, but each year it’s a different generation that continues to find the way.

Ralph Sean Green kDSC_0746nows his place,

He knows his purpose,

To fly, to survive and to change the world





dani logo



YOU can help Ralph Sean Green and other Monarch butterflies in their amazing migration:

GROW milkweed (seeds and plants are available from Backyard Butterflies or Monarch Watch)

PLANT your own butterfly garden of nectar flowers

BECOME a Waystation for Monarchs in the spring and fall

GROW your own Monarch – Backyard Butterflies is at the Cumberland Farmer’s Market and has caterpillars during the summer until early September check out their Facebook Page!



Change the World – Join Dani's Dreams Team!

%d bloggers like this: