When a caterpillar is ready to metamorphose, it crawls upwards, sticks itself to a surface at its back end, and hangs into a J shape. Within the next 24 hours, it will become a chrysalis!
Monarch caterpillar in "J" shape. Photo credit: Lindsey Brendel
Then, slowly and gracefully, the fully-formed adult butterfly pushes its way out of the confinement of the chrysalis and perches on the chrysalis to pump out its wings.
A butterfly's magnificent metamorphosis is something people rarely get to see in their lives, and that's why we keep the terrariums here at the CMBO.
We're working hard to increase your odds of witnessing the event by raising as many Monarchs as our terrariums can fit. We look forward to meeting you and answering any questions you may have at the Cape May Bird Observatory!