A few mornings ago I saw this beauty while out on my morning walk around the yard on our recently acquired milkweed plant. These plants are havens for butterflies and also support their lifecycle. I felt fortunate to have caught it on camera when I did. I presume it was laying an egg or two since yesterday these 2 were found cruising around the same plant:
This last photo is sort of a “Where’s Waldo” of caterpillars. It’s exciting seeing these caterpillars grow so fast on the milkweed. My mom told me that when they’re big enough, they leave the plant to find a safe place to make their chrysalis. I was relieved to hear this because last week’s large caterpillar seemed to have disappeared and I was worried about a bird having eaten it for a snack! (By the way, my mom gets all the credit for inspiring me to buy a milkweed plant. She has many in her front yard and even though she doesn’t care for the twiggy look it has after the caterpillars have eaten it all up, she knows the plant will grow back to feed a whole new crop of future monarchs.) Seeing the butterfly’s life cycle in action is also a wonderful science lesson for kiddos. Do butterflies in your neck of the woods a favor and get a milkweed plant!