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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Promise in Green and Black


Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

Do you wonder why I am beginning with an end-of-summer-beat-up weed? Do you know what kind it is? Can you find the wildlife? I'd been thinking that I hadn't seen very many of these yet this year. Today, I found three, all on just two plants. Want a better look?
Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

It's the caterpillar for a Monarch butterfly. The weed is a milkweed, which they eat almost exclusively. You sure can see that this one has been munching! The milkweed contains a toxin which makes them (and the butterflies) taste bad to predators, such as birds.
Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

I love the stripes!
Monarch Butterfly

That caterpillar will spin a chrysalis. I'll try to look for some to picture. Then it will become the familiar orange butterfly you see here. And yes, this is a Monarch. There's a very close look-alike, the Viceroy. But the pattern of the veins tells the story. Maybe someday I'll get lucky and catch a picture of one of those.
Monarch Butterfly

I think this is my favorite, even though only the underside of the wings shows.

See Playing with a Butterfly


jeanlivingsimple said...

I recently received some milkweed seeds to plant this fall. I am hoping to see more Monarchs next year. Super photos of the muncher!

AVCr8teur said...

I'm not fond of insects, but that caterpillar has beautiful colors. So much life on your milkweed plants.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just thought you should know that someone stole one of the bunny pictures from your blog entry on June 28, 2009 and claimed it as their own here: http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthread.php?t=163179

rainfield61 said...

The caterpillar just look similar at both ends.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

I love the caterpillar it's a beauty.

Lynne said...

Isn't nature amazing?! That is sure one fat caterpillar!

The Oceanside Animals said...

Pretty caterpillar makes pretty butterfly.

vanilla said...

Nice photo study of a beautiful little insect. Well done!

John | English Wilderness said...

Now that's an amazing caterpillar! Fantastic photos :-) I don't think we have anything quite so impressive here.

Ann said...

I haven't seen any caterpillars and over the summer saw very few butterflies. Enjoy seeing your pictures.

Lisa said...

They used to love my dill plants too and I would have none left for use in my potato salad. One night alone and 'poof' the plant was stripped.

spinninglovelydays said...

Cute caterpillar. I know people plant milkweed to attract the monarch butterfly, but I see its caterpillar is pretty too. :)

Sharkbytes said...

Jean- most grow easily from seeds. Not the orange butterfly plant though (Asclepias tuberosa). It's tough to get started.

AVCr8teur- Thanks for stopping. There is lots of life there, as you will see today.

Anon- Nope, it's similar, but not mine. Was that just a ploy to get hits for that page?

rainfield- Doesn't it! You have to look at the leg arrangement sometimes to be sure which end is which.

Carol- I actually like the caterpillars better. I'm not so fond of orange.

Lynne- fat is good! (when you are a caterpillar)

Dennis- sometimes, yes... sometimes really pretty caterpillars make boring butterflies.

vanilla- thanks, my friend.

John- well, I sure like your cinnebar. We don't have that one here. Don't you have Monarchs?

Ann- these were the first caterpillars I'd seen, although I did see lots of the Monarchs this year.

Lisa- Really!? I didn't know they would eat dill.

Ivy- I actually like the colors of the caterpillar better.

RNSANE said...

What a beautifully colored caterpillar and it's nice that it becomes the beautiful Monarch. I haven't seen the butterfly in a long time though I've seen them by the hundreds, at times, in Monterey, California when I've visited at certain times of the year.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Carmen- I've never seen them mass like that, except in pictures of course.