Monday, July 20, 2009
July is typically the time we search for monarch larvae. My older son was weeding a garden bed at church after lunch and pulled a milkweed. After he told me, I had him pull it so I could inspect it and found this tiny guy. I also found a couple eggs and an eggshell. 'bout went cross-eyed looking at it, and found that blowing up the photo of the egg was much better than using the naked eye. Click on it and see if you are as amazed as I was.
This bottom photo is the egg the photo above it, taken as a profile (close to it), cropped, and enlarged. I always wondered if the eggs were really like barrels and now I know.
The larva in the top photo is now living with us. It is 1/8" long. We'll feed it as needed (those caterpillars get pretty loud when they're hungry!). Updates will made here on this blog. We've raised plenty of monarchs here, but I have never showed any on this blog. (I've shown a newly hatched adult here.)
The best way to find small larvae (the large ones are extremely easy to spot, for humans and birds) while out in the field geocaching is to find milkweed leaves with holes. Once you find hole-y leaves, inspect the undersides. Monarch larvae are striped yellow, white, and black with two fleshy black antennae.