From all the time I have spent stomping along the river or over the prairie (20 years) this is the first Monarch caterpillar I have found. Plenty of other caterpillars but not a Monarch. I found it in my front yard when I went to pull a Showy Milkweed from the hedge. Not to abandon the rarity , I took it to my backyard and placed the caterpillar on another Showy Milkweed in my weed garden. That was August 30.
I checked on it daily and by September 2 the caterpillar had disappeared and the chrysalis below was all that remained.
On September 6 it looked like this.
By September 19 it looked like this, wings visible on the right side.
I decided to come back in an hour of so and take another picture. When I returned it looked like the chrysalis below.
I looked around and found the freshly-colored “baby” Monarch but it took off before I could get my camera ready. It headed straight up on it maiden voyage and then turned South. Given the time of year and that it was probably a fourth generation, it’s a reasonable guess that it was heading toward Mexico for its Winter Over. The photo below is of a Monarch that didn’t escape me.