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Gloucester photographer Jeri Trudeau (at right) captured the stages of transformation of the monarch butterfly, from the tiny egg, found only on milkweed leaves (top, left). When the egg is ready to hatch a black spot appears inside; that is its face. The caterpillar is translucent and eats its egg casing and then the milkweed. The caterpillars grow in about two weeks to full size, roughly the size of a quarter. Eventually, they hang up high to make a “J”. This is when they are ready to create a chrysalis. The chrysalis takes another 10-14 days to transform into a butterfly, eventually becoming translucent and revealing black and orange wings. Then it is ready to eclose, meaning it will open the chrysalis to emerge.


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