Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monarch Mania

In our house it is a summer tradition to try and raise a few monarch butterflies. We've been doing this for about 4 years now. Over the years we've had eggs hatch into caterpillars and caterpillars turn into butterflies, but we've never been successful all the way through the cycle from egg to butterfly. Some died making cocoons, some died trying to come out of the cocoon, and some others died as caterpillars. This year we were sure we would complete the cycle. In early August we found monarch egg and we raised it. We were excited with each step. Successful caterpillar, successful cocoon, and then we waited. Two days ago, we could tell it was getting ready to emerge as a butterfly. Well yesterday morning, I came downstairs and saw the caterpillar/cocoon container knocked off of the refrigerator where we had been keeping it. Not a good sign! Harry and I start looking around for the butterfly because we could see it's empty cocoon shell still in the container. Then Harry screamed, "There it is on the floor." Uh-oh. Side note: our Bengal cat really loves to catch flying creatures. Whenever a fly or a moth gets inside the house, he amuses himself by catching them with his paws and eating them. I think you can see where this story is headed. Well sure enough it was on the floor with its wings still wet and looking pretty mangled. It was still alive so I brought it outside to a flower and hoped for the best. I didn't see it later so hopefully it flew away.

Today we did have another butterfly emerge, but this one we found as a caterpillar, not an egg. The video shows a bit of its beauty.

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