A very welcome sight awaited me in our library garden plot on Wednesday morning--a monarch caterpillar, munching on the milkweed plant! You may remember from our earlier posts that the milkweed grew on its own in May, then died from a mole invasion, and then grew back strong and healthy.
Our milkweed now has three fresh stalks and lots of great leaves, so it made a great home for the caterpillar! (Most other milkweed has gone to seed by now. I'm not sure how much difference it makes, other than that ours just looks fresher.)
By the time I found it, it had already munched through several leaves (as you can see from the picture). It was really large--about as long as my finger and fatter. It was munching furiously when I came and had slowed down by the time I left, so it may be making a chrysalis soon.
We have been watching our milkweed all summer to see if it would host any monarchs, since milkweed is the only plant monarchs eat and its supply is decreasing in North America. We are thrilled to play temporary host to this little creature! Watch the blog for more updates. (Here's an update!)