Male Monarch butterfly with wings spread perches on an open cage. Another Monarch butterfly clings to the wire of the cage. In the background are several open chrysalises and one green chrysalis.This week has brought a flurry of Monarch butterfly releases. Each time we let a butterfly go, we choose a name from your suggestions in our Butterfly Name Raffle. This butterfly’s name is Flutter.

When butterflies first emerge from their chrysalises, they still have lots of work to do. They inflate and dry their wings. They also zip the two parts of their proboscis together. It takes several hours for all of their systems to fully mature. They don’t need to eat for their first 24 hours as butterflies.

Flutter is male. We can tell by the black spots on his lower wings. They’re scent patches. Female butterflies don’t have them and do have thicker black outlines on their wings.

The cool, rainy weather this week has made timing of our releases a bit unpredictable. During the warmer, drier moments, 16 butterflies have launched into our Children’s Garden!