The Next Generation

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 10, 2018.

I was admiring the intricate design of the many tiny flowers of a Queen Anne’s lace plant when I saw her on the second Monday in July. The monarch caterpillar was systematically eating the leaves and the stems of a milkweed plant. She was still there on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, she was gone.

According to the information on the website of the Monarch Lab at the University of Minnesota, this caterpillar was in the 5th Instar stage of her growth cycle. It is the last stage before the caterpillars shed their skin for the final time and become chrysalis. The monarch butterfly emerges from the chrysalis after 8 to 15 days.

I looked in the area near the milkweed plant for the caterpillar or a chrysalis on Wednesday morning. I didn’t see either one. I hope she found a safe place to make the transformation to a monarch butterfly. The summer storms can be intense.

July 9, 2018

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 9, 2018. The head of the caterpillar is hidden behind the leaf.

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 9, 2018. The head of the caterpillar is hidden behind the leaf.

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 9, 2018.

July 10, 2018

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 10, 2018.

A monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed plant in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 10, 2018.

The bison were close by and out of sight on the other side of a small hill. You can hear them eating grass while the caterpillar munches on the milkweed plant.

July 13, 2018

The milkweed plant after the monarch caterpillar was finished, Jester Park, Iowa, July 13, 2018. The caterpillar ate 4 leaves and their stems and portions of other leaves.

Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot) flowers in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 13, 2018.

Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot) flowers in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, July 13, 2018.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

 

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments