Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars
I have tended a large patch of milkweed plants over the year with the hopes that their leaves would attract Monarch butterflies. Over the last couple of months, I've seen several Monarchs land and lay eggs on the underside of the leaves, but no caterpillars had appeared.
Last week, in frustration, I decided that the unsightly milkweeds had outlived their usefulness and failed in their purpose. However, as I started to cut the first plant, I noticed several yellow, black, and white caterpillars on the leaves; indisputably Monarch caterpillars. Since that time, I have seen a half dozen individuals in various stages of growth. The largest ones are nearly two inches, and I suspect are soon to pupate. I've been searching for a chrysalis, but haven't seen one so far. Adult butterflies continue to lay eggs, so I'm doubly hopeful that my milkweeds are helping this butterfly species.
I will continue to watch and photograph these caterpillars, and will post further images to this blog. Stay tuned!