Not sure if I will get to witness further events in this particular caterpillar's life? 🤔

Looks like Elvis has totally left the building.

But where's the chrysalis? 🤔

Found three more of these today!

A particularly lost and confused one was under the leaves of a dahlia. Moved it to milkweed plant. I hope I have done the right thing, and I did it right.

Don't you know about your exclusive diet of milkweed, caterpillar?

Current status: there's a chrysalis now, and a small caterpillar, and an even smaller caterpillar

The last monarch chrysalis outside turned out to be a bit of a tragedy: it became victim to tachinid fly.

I'm told that only about 5% monarch eggs become butterflies, and the rest perish. Even milkweeds are trying to kill the caterpillars with sticky latex sap and toxins!

I've checked out Anurag Agrawal's "Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution" from the library. It's all very thrilling.

I also moved the last caterpillar I found to a glass jar. It turned into a chrysalis the other day.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Exciting developments in the chrysalis' glass jar this morning!

Follow

... and it had flown away by the time I got home after work. I didn't get to see the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

Damn Thursday late afternoon group meetings. Damn rush hour traffic.

Another very unskittish monarch came by and hung out in the yard this evening though, so there was that. 🦋

Today's monarch news: a big caterpillar and several tiny ones have appeared!

Our neighbor has donated a fancy home for the caterpillar. I hope this is a step-up from the old glass jar.

Saturday's visitor stayed a long while, and wanted to come inside: stayed and knocked on the windows and front door.

Was it you, my Appu cat? Did you become a monarch butterfly in your next life? If it was you, I miss you. 😢

Today's monarch news: a caterpillar has escaped its indoor makeshift cage, and is now hanging onto a door jamb, and is very unwilling to budge.

The one in neighbor-donated cage is now a chrysalis.

An ill-looking one I brought inside has died. It wasn't eating anything.

This evening I brought two more very tiny caterpillars inside.

Guess who flew away today? 🦋

Guess who is getting ready to fly away in the next couple of days? 🦋

Door jamb chrysalis became a butterfly this morning and flew away 🦋

Another visitor from yesterday. 🦋

I am declaring this program of throwing some sunflower and zinnia seeds randomly in the yard and letting milkweeds etc just be a Great Success.

Forgot to report: two monarchs left home yesterday!

No pictures. I wasn't home to witness their departure.

This one left home today 🦋

He lingered on for a long time before taking flight, so I ended up taking 139 pictures.

This one emerged from her chrysalis yesterday, and this one too lingered on for hours 🦋

(Two more monarchs are getting ready this morning, and that will be the end of monarch raising season for us.)

Monarch #10 (of 11) left home yesterday. She hung around a bit too, but not for too long.

Monarch #11 of 11, a boy, emerged from his chrysalis the same day as monarch #10, but wasn't quite ready to leave until this morning.

Astute readers may note that he left on Día de la Independencia, and she left on El Grito de Dolores.

I hope the last few monarchs will make it all the way to their overwintering grounds in Mexico, and will serve as our ambassadors there.

Feliz viaje, our little winged friends!

Today I spotted three monarchs on the zinnias at the same time, but of course they did not pose for a group photo. 🦋 🦋 🦋

What do a poor photographer do when found himself in such an impossible situation but make do?

At some point some kind of bar fight equivalent of monarch world broke out, and resolved itself faster than I could focus my reasonably fast focusing lens.

I really suck in this photojournalist profession.

I should not send myself to a war front as a photojournalist. I would fare much worse than Robert Capa.

The last monarch pictures I managed to take this year are from September 20 and 23, respectively. They must be on their way to their wintering grounds to Mexico, if they are already not there.

Fun monarch fact: monarchs can't (or don't?) fly when temperature is below 55 °C. Right now we're at 10 °C.

See you next year, little winged friends!

Whoops, made a typo! Meant 55 °F/13 °C, typed 55 °C.

Thanks to @fitheach for spotting it.

@sajith bummer! I'm just seeing your whole monarch thread now and it is really cool!

@dthompson Be sure to raise some milkweeds next year! Once the monarchs choose to lay eggs on your milkweeds, it gets super exciting.

@sajith I'm trying to grow some but so far only have one that is doing well. hopefully that number will increase.

@dthompson I hope so too!

Last year no monarchs were around, and then we removed some juniper pines from that area and then this happened.

These folks have good reviews in Amazon, if I remember correctly, but I have no direct experience:

myseedneeds.com/collections/mi

I am planning to collect some seeds from the existing plants, and get some of those seeds, and grow milkweeds and zinnias in all possible corners next year. This is way better than grass and "regular" weeds. :-)

@sajith I've been collecting seed pods. my step daughter even collected seed pods for me that she found at school.

@dthompson One "problem" we've had (which is not really a problem, just business as usual for nature) was disappearing caterpillars -- some of them were eaten by tachinid larvae etc. I have no idea what happened to the rest.

This one in the jar is the sole survivor as far as I can tell, and that was probably because I brought the caterpillar inside and kept it in a jar with some milkweed leaves.

Can't believe I'm giving advice on raising monarchs after half a summer with a few of them. :-)

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon

Follow friends and discover new ones. Publish anything you want: links, pictures, text, video. This server is run by the main developers of the Mastodon project. Everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!