Photos and videos of Monarch butterflies freshly emerged or released.

This section on the MONARCH BUTTERFLY STAGE includes information, photos and videos of Monarch butterflies starting when they emerge from their chrysalis. The butterflies were then released in a garden that provided them with the sources of nectar they needed, in addition to the milkweed for their ‘offspring’.
(More general information on the Monarch butterfly can be found here.)
EMERGING AS A BUTTERFLY (a separate page)
As might be expected, the critical stage of the Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis is a fascinating aspect of that insect life. Observing it, as well as all the other life stages of the Monarch, can be very instructive.
Below are photos of freshly emerged butterflies both still inside and then as they were being released outside.
MALE OR FEMALE? There are different ways of finding out the sex of a Monarch butterfly and chrysalis. Please check this page for more information and photos of males and females.
SEX RATIO: Of the 17 caterpillars I have raised the first year, 11 were males and only 6 were females. This is a ratio of almost two males to one female. This apparently reflects a disturbing trend of less Monarch females than males, and researchers still don’t know the underlying causes of that decrease.

These three Monarchs emerged almost at the same time - © Denise Motard

Female Monarch butterfly on Swamp milkweed - © Denise Motard

Female Monarch butterfly showing upper wings only - © Denise Motard

Male Monarch butterfly has thinner veins and a black spot on hind wings - © Denise Motard

Female Monarch butterfly has thicker veins and no black spot on hind wings - © Denise Motard

Four Monarch butterflies on Purple coneflower - © Denise Motard

Here are some videos of Monarch butterflies trying their wings as they are ready to be released, or just released. The first one shows two males that emerged almost at the same time, and they also had turned into a chrysalis around the same time. When the butterfly starts opening and closing its wings while walking around, that means it is ready to be released outside.

This video below shows a just released female trying its wings on Purple Coneflower, a good source of nectar for Monarch butterflies:

For some unknown reason this male Monarch was shaking its left wings while slowly walking up. However when released outside not long after it behaved normally.

This male Monarch butterfly below was released on Swamp milkweed. Milkweeds provide nectar for the adults, and are a critical food source for the caterpillars.