Tracy Lee Stark

By Tracy Lee Stark

Photographer and Multimedia Producer


WATCH: Mesmerising footage of incredible metamorphosis of monarch butterflies

The footage shows the metamorphosis from eggs to caterpillars to chrysalis - before the beautiful butterfly emerges and takes flight.


Sam Limmage-Werner, 25, began raising his own monarch butterflies in 2019 after receiving some milkweed seeds for Christmas.

Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed plants and he was soon inundated with butterflies and had to buy more plants to keep up with the voracious caterpillars.

Customer success manager Sam, from Wellington, New Zealand, has been posting his videos online and the reaction has been overwhelming.

This video is no longer available.

He said: “A friend of mine got some milkweed seeds from one of her patients and she gave them to me knowing I absolutely love plants.

“I just planted them and didn’t expect much… but now they are my life!

“I work in advertising for a news company but I still put loads of time and effort into raising these beautiful creatures.”

Sam’s journey with the butterflies hasn’t always been a smooth flight.

He said: “I had never raised them before so I had no idea what to expect.

“After I planted the seeds, I quickly started getting eggs that turned into caterpillars.

“I’ve even had to buy more plants as there were just so many of them! I honestly thought my first one would be dead.

“I brought them inside for the first time and ended up finding caterpillars in every part of my house – I thought ‘You guys are like 2 inches, how have you travelled metres?'”

Sam eventually found his way with raising the beautiful insects after working hard and researching the process every single day.

He added: “I’ve found that there is a wealth of support and education groups online – everyone is raising them!

“I didn’t know anything before and now I am completely fascinated.

“I feel so much pride that I get to see them go from these teeny tiny one millimetre eggs to watching them fly off on their own as these amazing creatures.”

The reaction online to his critter collection has been overwhelming, but Sam says he is glad to be inspiring so many people to help nature.

He said: “I’m asked so many questions every day that I just can’t answer – one of my videos has almost 10,000 comments!

“It’s really cool to be able to teach people how to raise them properly and help them understand why it’s so important to do so.

“There are a lot of things online saying that their population is declining rapidly so it’s vital that we know how to help them.”

Sam has no plans to stop raising monarch butterflies and will continue to share his experiences online.

He said: “I hope I can give people a better understanding of nature and all the tiny little journeys that things go on to be what they are.

“There are lots of little elements that make the world the incredible place that it is.

“Nature is just really cool and there are so many small ways that humans can help it.”

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