Hello, my daughter and I are new to this. 3 fat caterpillars (black and yellow striped) turned up on one of our butterfly weeds a few weeks ago and spun their cocoons soon after and turned into beautiful black and orange butterflies which I was told were monarchs. Then a week or so ago TWELVE small caterpillers appeared and we have been very busy trying to get enough milkweed/butterfly plant leaves to feed them all. (they stripped the two small plants we had but we have been getting leaves from neighbors)
The problem is: some of them have started spinning their chrysaleses (don't know how to spell correctly!) but two of them have what seems to be INCOMPLETE chrysalises -- you can see a little bit of black caterpillar sticking out of the top of the chrysalis! Does this mean they are deformed? Does anyone know what I can do in the future to perhaps provide a better environment or ??? I have really enjoyed watching the caterpillars grow and turn into butterflies and want to continue next year with some planned butterfly-raising activities.