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.



Posted in Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography
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