Monarch butterfly eggs are usually laid on the underside of milkweed leaves. At first they are difficult to spot, but with time and familiarity they become easier to find.
Once laid, the eggs hatch in as little as 4 days.
Though Monarch caterpillars start out small...
After about 10 days, the caterpillar moves away from its food and suspends itself in the shape of a "J".
Don't blink! After about 12 hours hanging upsidedown, the caterpillar's colorful skin is quickly cast aside.
In the hour that follows, the chrysalis firms and takes shape. The purpose of the gold decoration on the exterior of the chrysalis is unknown but the coloration is extracted from the milkweed plant.
The process of transformation takes about 10 days. Around the 9th day, the chrysalis begins to darken, eventually turning from light green to nearly black.
Shortly before the adult butterfly is about to emerge, the chrysalis turns clear, revealing the butterfly within.
Once the butterfly has emerged, it hangs from its chrysalis shell for several hours as its wings take shape. Usually after about 4 hours, the butterfly is ready to test its wings for the first time, some with more success than others but they quickly get the hang of it.