Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Milkweed Mysteries

I bought a milkweed plant at the nursery - it's known as the Monarch butterfly plant.  While I was walking around the nursery with my cart full of plants, Monarch butterflies were following me everywhere I steered the cart.

When I got the plant home, I put it in the corner of our patio, and when I looked closely at the plant, this is what I saw:
How did I not see those on the plant when I bought it?  Could it be that they weren't there, but in one day's time, they found the milkweed plant?  I realized they must be Monarch caterpillars, which I have never seen before.

The very next day, my plant had no leaves!
The caterpillars had eaten them all.  

And the next day after that, I saw a tiny green cocoon!

When I looked closely at the cocoon, there were 3 tiny, tiny caterpillars on the cocoon.

I'm not sure what to do at this point.  Do I go back to the nursery and buy another milkweed plant, so that when the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, he'll have some milkweed leaves to eat?  It's a mystery!

And what happened to all the other big caterpillars?  Why is there only one cocoon? What happened to all the tiny, tiny caterpillars?

I guess it's time to Google "Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly."

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