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.
The caterpillar will eat most of the milkweed in the last few days before it turns into a chrysalis.
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?
Surfs the leaves.
Hangs out and bungees
Swoops down on the trapeeze
Or cha chas in his own conga line
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.)
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.
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
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 knows his place,
He knows his purpose,
To fly, to survive and to change the world
CHANGE THE WORLD!
YOU can help Ralph Sean Green and other Monarch butterflies in their amazing migration:
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!