The Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly

Several years ago I spent an entire summer capturing the complete life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. This is an extraordinary species. Monarchs migrate annually from all over North America back to a winter home in Mexico. The ones that migrate in the Fall are the descendants of the ones who came back north in the Spring. In other words the butterflies that fly to Mexico are not themselves going back home, because in fact those particular butterflies have never been there. Capturing the entire life cycle involved a great deal of attention to every aspect of that creature’s life. I got pictures of a mating pair, the female laying eggs on the leaves of the host plant (Milkweed), the tiny caterpillar emerging, the growth of the caterpillar through several stages, the metamorphosis through the Chrysalis to a mature butterfly, and the butterfly in flight.
Monarch Chrysalis Monarch Newly Emerged

If you want to give yourself a photographic challenge, pic a living subject and spend some significant time following its life. It is a rewarding exercise!

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