Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Question and Answer

I don't see many chrysalises, but I do see some caterpillars. Why is this?

You're not alone if you haven't seen many monarch chrysalises in the wild. Monarch caterpillars usually move away from the milkweed plant they were eating when they are ready to pupate, or form their chrysalis. Chrysalises are found on a variety of different plants and structures within the habitat, like benches, windowsills, and other nearby plants or bushes. If you had been seeing large instars and expect they should have transitioned into the chrysalis stage but haven't seen any, don't fret. It is rare to find monarch chyrsalises in the wild, so just because you didn't see them doesn't mean they weren't successful. Keep records about what you are observing through programs like the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, www.mlmp.org. If you find monarchs one week and the late instars are gone by the next week and you aren't successful in finding their chrysalis, use your knowledge about monarch biology to watch for freshly eclosed (emerged) adult butterflies about 10 days later.

Back to Frequently Asked Questions