Saturday, August 23, 2008


Nope. Very tiny caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars. It's that time of year again, when the monarch butterflies lay their eggs. I've enjoyed watching these ever since I first learned about them as a kid. I think it's fascinating to observe them from newly hatched caterpillars to newly hatched butterflies... all in about 4 weeks.

I heard on the radio a few days ago that the number of monarch butterflies is way down this year because of the cold wet spring we had, so we might not see the bunches of butterflies coming through on their migration south like we sometimes do in the late summer.

I haven't seen many butterflies, but I sure found a lot of caterpillars! There were at least 4 on this one milkweed plant (and I found some on other milkweeds, too). Here are 3 of them, of various sizes.

This next leaf also has an egg on it... you can see the little white dot (smaller than a pin head) down in the lower right-hand section of the photo. The butterflies lay only one egg at a time.

The above photos were taken on Tuesday. Yesterday I took another pic of one of the same caterpillars, just for size comparison. It's growing fast. They only take a couple weeks to get to full size and ready to make their chrysalis.

A few years ago I kept some of the caterpillars in a jar and took photos of their progress... my own personal "documentary", I guess. I'm not going to bother to do that again this year, but I'll dig up those pics and post them on here sometime. I even managed to get pics of a couple of the butterflies hatching. Very fascinating!

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