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Monarch Butterflies

The third and fourth generations of the monarchs that migrated from New England to central Mexico last fall are arriving in New England, mating and laying eggs.  The eggs are hatching, and some of the larvae, or caterpillars, are well on their way to adulthood.  This larval stage of their metamorphosis lasts about two weeks, and is the only stage during which monarchs have chewing mouth parts. The caterpillars take advantage of this by consuming both the leaves and flower buds (see photograph) of common milkweed practically non-stop, increasing their body mass up to 2,000 times.


4 responses

  1. I sure hope you keep this daily blog up. I learn so much from it and love reading it every day! Thank you so much for doing it.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  2. Great shot!

    July 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  3. Lucy

    I am curious about the antenna like parts on the caterpillar. What do you know about them?

    September 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    • Hi Lucy,
      Apparently the fleshy tentacles at the front and rear ends of Monarch larvae are not antennae, although they do function as sense organs.

      September 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

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