As a fifth instar, “Seven” is eating voraciously, preparing for a final molt and the chrysalis stage.
“Seven” in the “J” shape; the chrysalis stage is imminent. He will molt once more in this position.
“Seven” has completed his final molt and transformation into chrysalis form. The chrysalis hardens after a couple hours and the metamorphosis begins.
Danaus plexippus nicknamed “Seven” minutes before emerging from the transparent casing that is all that remains of the chrysalis form.
Within a minute or two of emerging from the chrysalis, “Seven” takes some tentative first steps away from the empty shell. He seeks a safe place to hang upside down for a few few hours and prepare for life as an adult.
The wings are small and crinkled, the body stubby and plump with a reserve of fluid. “Seven’s” body pumps the extra fluid into his wings to fill them out before they dry.
“Seven” in repose, hanging upside down from the mesh ceiling of the enclosure. (Photo is rotated for a closer view.)
“Seven” spends the night in his enclosure because he emerged from the chrysalis too late in the day to be safely released. Next morning he flexes and extends his wings, ready for flight.