This is a pretty common sight in My Florida Backyard. Most species of butterfly caterpillars display this behavior, spinning a silk pad and attaching their hind end to it by a hook called a "cremaster". The rest of their body hangs free, allowing the caterpillar to shed its skin one last time and form a chrysalis. (Learn more about each species below by clicking the name.)
Other butterfly species hang in a modified "J", using a second strand of silk to secure themselves across the middle. This adds an extra level of security in case the cremaster accidentally becomes detached.
Observing the full life cycle of butterflies is just one of the joys of building and maintaining a wildlife habitat. Watching these creatures from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly never fails to impress us with the amazing complexity of nature at its finest!