Chrysalis / chrysalides (pl) – When the caterpillar splits its skin for the last time, instead of a caterpillar emerging, a shiny green shell, called the chrysalis, is revealed. The chrysalis hangs for about 10-14 days. Inside, the caterpillar transforms into an adult butterfly.
Danaus plexippus – scientific name for the monarch butterfly.
Eclose / eclosing – the opening of the chrysalis, when the butterfly emerges
Frass – caterpillar bodily waste, poop
Habitat – the natural environment the butterflies need to survive, places that provide plenty of milkweed, nectar flowers, water and trees for cover
Instar – the five stages of growth of the caterpillar; a new instar phase starts each time the caterpillar sheds its old skin – the first instar starts when the caterpillar first emerges from the egg, the fifth instar ends when the caterpillar sheds its skin for the last time as it forms the chrysalis
Migrate / migration – leaving where the butterfly was born, to fly to a warmer climate for the winter. At the end of summer, butterflies born west of the Rocky Mountains generally migrate to southern California. Those born east of the Rockies generally migrate to specific mountainous areas of Mexico.
Metamorphosis – the process of changing from an egg, through all the stages, to a butterfly
Molt / molting – the process of the caterpillar shedding its old skin
Predators – insects or animals that hunt, attack or kill another
Pupa – another word for the chrysalis
Pupate / pupating – the process of changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis
Sanctuary / sanctuaries – a place where monarchs gather, generally where local rules help protect the habitat and the butterflies in it. The Mexican government has designated areas as sanctuaries, to help protect the butterflies and their habitat.