I found a monarch caterpillar on my tropical milkweed several weeks ago and brought her inside, hoping to keep her safe while she grew and fed and made her transformation to a butterfly.
In this photo she’s a fifth instar, attaching herself to the top of her enclosure, ready to molt for the last time and enter the chrysalis stage.
Here she is eight days later. During the chrysalis stage the caterpillar liquifies inside the cocoon and reorganizes, almost magically transforming into a butterfly. Even after decades of research, scientists admit that the details of this metamorphosis are not completely understood.