Friday, May 9, 2008

Hooray, a spring monarch caterpillar!

My butterfly gardening friends sent me an e-mail this afternoon that they had found several monarch caterpillars on their milkweed plants.

We've had relatively few spring monarch adults the last few years -- none a couple of years ago, and just a small number last year. This spring, though, I've seen maybe 7 to 10 monarchs, all individuals seemingly passing through. And the first one I saw was really in the forefront of the migration (when I posted a sighting on Journey North, it was the farthest north in the SE (US) on that date!)

And none of us (my butterfly enthusiast friends and I) have had spring caterpillars before.

But at least one female visited my milkweed, too, this year.

When I got home this evening, I went out to check my plants. I'd been weeding in the front meadow last weekend, and took the photos posted yesterday early in the week, and hadn't noticed anything but robust plants.

But this evening, first I saw signs of leaf chewing, then caterpillar frass,

and then spotted what looks like a 4th instar caterpillar.

Hooray! Maybe I'll have a few monarchs fed by my plants flying about in the garden in early summer.


  1. How exciting! I don't think we get monarchs here, but we do get lovely yellow and black swallowtails that seem to love the lilac blossoms. I'm looking forward to seeing them in the garden when the lilacs begin to bloom.

  2. Having butterflies in the garden is wonderful -- I love watching them visit flowers and flit about the garden. And supporting caterpillars with their various host plants is a good way to have more adult butterflies!


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