I’ve been sleeping terribly lately. Last night I went to bed at 10PM and slept all the way through to 3:30AM, the longest I’ve slept at one time in over a month. I tossed and turned for the next few hours, then finally got up. Around 7AM, I ventured out into the garden to do some work. I found several of the monarch caterpillars resting on the underside of some of the milkweed leaves. This little guy, however, caught my eye. He looked like he was up to something unusual, so I sat down with the camera and caught a few shots of him pushing and pulling his way out of his skin. Over the course of several minutes, he finally wriggled loose. It was fun to watch and was pretty interesting how his rear feet remained anchored to the leaf as he compressed his body and pulled out. I also shot a short one minute video of the last part of it.
Here’s the video. At about sixteen seconds in you can see his “helmet” fall off:
I found this one on the verbena (next to the milkweed). He was resting, no doubt tired from the ordeal. I picked him up gently and placed him on the milkweed.