Monarch Chrysalis

I came across this image while editing my Lightroom catalog last evening … another image I have not previously published:

Monarch butterfly pupa, or chrysalis

At first, I thought it was a swallowtail chrysalis, but after a closer look, it is a Monarch’s chrysalis. This was hanging from one of my sister-in-law’s flowers in one of her flower gardens, in north-central Minnesota. The image is a bit soft … it was hidden behind and underneath leaves and flowers, and situated where I could not use a tripod (without smashing other flowers, which I wasn’t about to do!). So, I had to hand-hold the camera while trying to “snake” my lens around other flowers … not an easy task! If you look at the camera data below, you can see I shot this image at a shutter speed of 1/30 seconds (without IS). The host plant’s stem appears in pretty good focus, but the chrysalis dangling in a calm wind was more difficult to capture!

The chrysalis, or pupa, is the transitioning phase of a caterpillar into a butterfly/moth. In this case, the adult would be a beautiful Monarch once transition is complete. If you look closely, you can see the familiar black “veins” of the Monarch’s wings, just below the surface of the chrysalis’ covering. When ready, this skin will split open and the new butterfly will emerge. I was hoping this would happen while I was there, but we returned home before the adult butterfly was “born”.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld, with no IS (the 180mm macro lens does not have IS)
  • ISO 1250
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/30 sec.



If you enjoyed this post, please share this link with others who you feel may enjoy it!

Posted in 2015, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .
Permalink bookmark.
Follow comments: RSS feed for this post.
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Wendy Weger

    It’s wonderful Jim! thank you….if we could all follow this splendid example in nature of metamorphoses …sleep deep in the winter (lay low quietly) and dream a dream of the year to come…of complete transmutation….from a caterpillar after day eating the same old green leaves until it has had it’s fill….enough already…spins a cocoon…..goes deep within and completely transforms and emerges in Spring as a beautiful butterfly..I personally think the reason people get so many illnesses especially allergic that they don’t pause in the winter months and contemplate and rest and think about what they want to create in the year ahead……just full speed ahead all the year’s hard on a body, no different than other mammals which many of which..DO slow down immensely and/or hibernate and replenish their system … a pause…to dream the dream of the year to come. I imagine the trees leafless…their energy in the roots..intertwined with other trees and roots…perhaps whispering sweet nothings to one another and dreaming of being even stronger and more beautiful than the year before….Nature does not know how to “die” for it has never contemplated such a thing I think….
    I love this photo..thank you so much for making the effort and taking the has made my day to see it for me very worth while…Best wishes to you and your family..

    Hugs Wendy and Cookie Cat xox

  • Thanks, Wendy, and Cookie Cat … well said! I’m a firm believer in not staying idle very long, but also that we need to give our bodies the rest it often needs. Like most anything in life, “balance” is the key :o)

    Have a great rest of week! :o)