Monarch Butterfly Born In My House

When I noticed a solid green monarch butterfly chrysalis on my lawnmower shed October 2nd in Maine I feared it would be too cold for it to develop into a butterfly. As the weeks went by the weather was cold and rainy with little sun. I noticed the chrysalis was still solid green on October 22nd.

Monarch butterfly chrysalis, Danaus plexippus

There would be few days ahead with sufficient temperatures for a monarch. Maybe if I brought the chrysalis into my house it would metamorphose into a butterfly. So using a razor knife I detached the chrysalis from the eave, brought it into the house and glued it to a small piece of wood with a hot glue gun. Next, I placed the wood over the opening of a jar with the chrysalis hanging in the jar. 

With the 69 degree indoor temperatures the metamorphoses speeded up. The next morning I could see the dark color of a monarch inside the chrysalis, and by evening it was fully developed. It was ready to emerge. At 6:00am it looked the same as the evening before, but I returned at 6:30 to see it completely emerged and attached to the wood turning its body side to side drying. This can take hours outside, but in a warm, dry house it happened faster than I expected. It was on the window sill!

The weather was too cold that day, but should be about 58 the next day. I hoped he would stay calm in the house for one day, and he did. The mornings are slow to warm in late October so I waited until 10:00am when the sun would begin to strike the only live aster remaining in my yard. I nudged my hand into the monarch’s legs, and he (it was a male) attached to the back of my hand. He stayed with me out the door and around to the back yard. I nudged him to the aster, and he attached. 

The sun was only partially striking the aster due to large trees. His wings where reacting to the strength of the sun. As more rays became free of the trees his wings would open wider, and when the rays went back behind branches his wings would close a bit. By 10:30 the full sun was striking his wide open wings, and he departed south heading for Mexico.

Could the descendants of my monarch find their way back to my yard next summer after three generations had passed, and even though they have never been here? That possibility is not a lot different than the fact that my monarch born in my house, and all others born in the north will find their way to the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico to spend the winter even though they have never been there before. It seems plausible.