Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars
Location: Hawthorne, CA
December 12, 2012
Here are some shots from the past four days. While I was sitting out back on Sunday, a Monarch Butterfly came by to plant some new eggs on the Mexican Milkweed. I actually got to watch her leave the one on the seed pod! We’re watching eagerly for new hatchlings. The oldest of the caterpillars is now eating the seed pods. If things go as last year, it will pupate in a few days. There was another that hatched at the same time, but we lost it. The others in between egg stage & what I understand to be the fifth instar and final stage before becoming a chrysalis are well and eating away. I counted 8 in the back today.
Hope all is well you with you on this gloomy, soon to be rainy day.
Sorry for the delay. Your submission caught us at the end of the semester and at the end of the week. Thursday and Friday are particularly heavy work load days for us. We are thrilled with your latest round of photos and the ongoing Monarch Caterpillar documentation you are providing to expand on the Bug of the Month posting.
We love the photo of the egg. Your Mexican milkweed, though not native, is well adapted to Southern California weather and the Monarchs obviously love it. When choosing plants for the butterfly garden we are working on in Elyria Canyon Park, we need to stick to native plant species.
We look forward to receiving photos of your first Monarch chrysalis of the season.
Thanks very much. I thought maybe you were immersed in end of semester goings-on. I don’t know that I will find a chrysalis, couldn’t last year. We didn’t have as many caterpillars then, though, so maybe will get lucky this year.
Update: December 18, 2012
Still no pupating, but I got these shots of the oldest surviving caterpillar today and just wanted to share them with you. This and one other ventured onto one of the Cigar Plant bushes a few times yesterday. They may pupate there, who knows? I’ll keep my eyes peeled.