Monarch caterpillars project

Illustrated Luna moth lifecycle

You probably haven’t heard from me as often in the last while as you used to–at least not through this blog.

Well, busy, sick, various things one after the other; and also the fact that I’m raising five monarch caterpillars into butterflies. This is my life now, and it’ll stay that way until they hatch and flutter away. Here are some images of what they’re up to. And the blog header image (another Rona Dijkhuis masterwork) doesn’t count, that’s a sort of Luna moth if you really examine it.

 

Monarch caterpillar.

Monarch caterpillar.

Monarch chrysalis.

Monarch chrysalis.

Chrysalis and caterpillars.

One chrysalis; one caterpillar about to become a chrysalis; one caterpillar crawling up the jar to join them.

I have planted thousands of milkweed seeds, of different varieties of the plant, in a nearby greenspace. Some dozens of them have come up, others haven’t, but it was a pretty disorganized effort on the whole and I’m glad anything happened. The plants have been waiting for monarch butterflies to come land and lay their eggs, but sightings in my area have been few so far (we all hope they’re just late to the party).

So I’m augmenting this effort in a way I can afford, by acquiring five monarch caterpillars, raising them on local clean milkweed, and I will release them into that same greenspace once they hatch from their “chrysalids” phase. I hope by then some late arrivals from south of here will flutter along to join the party. The area is dotted with wild flowers and milkweed.

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