I found my first wild chrysalis yesterday! I guess I should describe the setting..
The field where I go to tag is about 20 acres or so, as a rough estimate. It's just inside at the outskirts of a metropolitan area, and has three "lakes" in the center. The field could be paved over at any time, because it's an undeveloped lot part of a business park. But right now, it's allowed to go wild. There are several clusters of trees, and some marshy areas, some higher slopey/hilly areas, and a huge variety of birds, insects, butterflies, frogs and even turtles. It's pretty sweet.
There are all kinds of mixed flowers, grasses and scrub. The main nectar source is pink clover, though. Acres of it. And there are also large stretches of sand/blue vine and patches of broad leaved milkweed.
I think monarchs coming from the NW are tired by the time they pass through the city and its sprawl, and as soon as they see this field, with the large ponds, they decend and find a perfect oasis. So there are always plenty of monarchs here, feeding on the clover and roosting in the tree clusters. Sometimes I can stand in one spot and reach 3 or 4 butterlies with my net. I also have to watch I don't tromp on any larvae.
As I'm running through this field, I wonder if I am stepping on larvae and chrysalids. Take a larva on this vine, in the middle of a patch of clover and grasses. The vine is ground hugging, because they have nothing to go up on. So the larva gets ready to pupate, and beings searching for a spot. They must crawl great distances without finding anything to climb up on.
OK, getting to the point, I was walking through grass about a foot high, and I almost stepped on a chrysalis. It was on a few blades of grass that the larvae had webbed together and j-hooked from. The chrysalis had some tiny black spots on the thorax area, so there must be some parisitism in this field. But it looked like it was going to hatch soon..
Anyways, I've noticed a fair amount of adults with slightly deformed wings. There must be a lot emerging from tight spaces in these grasses, and getting wings slightly bent and deformed, but not so much they can't fly well still.
I can just imagine that poor larva searching for a spot. There was no milkweed anywhere near this grass. It must have crawled, and crawled and crawled, finally said to heck with it, and did the best it could with a three blades of grass.
Now I am REALLY careful when I walk around.