This is a close up view of a Monarch butterfly’s egg. These little eggs are impossible to find if you drop them by mistake. That is why butterflies secrete a glue-like chemical that secures the egg to the milkweed leaf. Even is you spray the leaf with the hose the eggs will still stay attached. If you wait 24 hours for the egg to harden you can remove it from the leave by rubbing it with your finger.
Usually Monarchs and Queens will lay only one egg per leaf, but I had a monarch butterfly that went crazy with egg laying. It laid hundreds of eggs on my almost bare milkweeds! There must not be many milkweeds around where we live. Thankfully now that it is summer my milkweed are growing very big.
Usually it takes 3 to 5 days for Queen and Monarch eggs to hatch. While inside the egg the larvae is developing and is nourished by a yolk inside the egg. Hours before it emerges you will begin to notice that the very tip of the egg is turning black. This black spot is its head! If the whole egg turns very black that means the egg died.
After emerging the caterpillar will eat its egg shell. Next it will move on and begin eating the leaf. In a few days this queen caterpillar will molt and reveal its stripes.
This caterpillar just shed its skin revealing yellow and gray strips. It will wait hours for its skin to harden before eating again. It will then go back and eat its dead skin. What a nutritious treat for this little caterpillar.