Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Last Butterfly of Autumn

November is monarch season in Malibu, frail orange and black wings flutter everywhere, long distance travelers pausing on an impossible journey to rest in garden refuges or roost among the eucalyptus trees, looking like flame-colored autumn leaves.

We were surprised all the same to find a monarch chrysalis hidden in the garden. The enterprising caterpillar traveled more than 20 feet from its milkweed plant to spin its chrysalis in a safe place, out of sight among the African daisies that line our driveway.

A cleverly hidden monarch chrysalis, ready to hatch.

The newly hatched butterfly unfolds and dries its wings, preparing for flight.

The empty chrysalis is almost transparent, and far too small to hold a butterfly. 

The new butterfly unfolds and is ready to take flight. It's frail wings will carry it all the way to Mexico. 

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