on this day, one monarch decided to join the festivities by coming out of the chrysalis shell. it was a complete surprise to everyone-especially the children in attendance. while the wings unfurl and dry, butterflies are extremely vulnerable to predators. this one was lucky that miss becky took it inside-the cool temperatures would have made it even harder for it to fly away.
sorry for the blurry shot-plastic containers are not the best thing to take photos through.
one of the things becky does is to tag each butterfly before setting it free. she keeps careful records of each and every one so that it can be tracked. she explained that all of the monarchs in this part of the country will actually fly to a small santuary in mexico for the winter.
the tag is placed on the wing and each one has a number specific to that butterfly. the native people who live in and around the santuary will actually comb the ground looking for tags. for some, that is a large part of their income and they take the task seriously.
becky will tell you that every so often, they get an email listing a number from one of the tags that she and the children have used. that means one of the butterflies made it to mexico and for this group, it is news to dance and shout about.
it takes a minute or two for the butterfly to become accustomed to the tag on its wing but once they are, they can fly just fine.
did you know that it is very easy to determine the sex of a monarch butterfly? well, it really is, by gently splaying the wings open, a five year old was quick to tell me that this was a male. how did he know that? by the single large black spot on each of the wings. this guy went back into the aquarium until it warmed up and then they were going to let him fly off. and with any luck, he will make it to the santuary in mexico.