Saturday, August 27, 2011

Monarch hunting.

A few days ago i spotted a monarch butterfly fluttering around the yard. She spent the whole day gliding from flower to flower and dancing and spinning in the garden. This is only the second monarch we've seen this year, so i suspected she was probably out laying her eggs. We went for a walk down the road to check all the milkweed plants for signs of eggs and caterpillars.

Both of the kids have become expert monarch hunters. Observing each leaf carefully for signs of munching, frass or tiny little eggs.

We found some Milkweed Tussock moth caterpillars! These guys are commonly found on milkweed along with milkweed bugs.

Sage was the first to spot an egg! They are super tiny!

Monarch eggs have a conical shape, with vertical ridges. They are usually pale yellow or creamy white.

When the eggs begin to darken, it means the caterpillar is about the hatch!!

The newly hatched caterpillar is only a little more than a millimeter in length. After they hatch from the egg, they eat the egg and then they begin eating the milkweed.

We returned home with 4 monarch eggs, one has hatched and the other three have darkened and will be hatching any time. Our little caterpillar will munch on milkweed for about 9-14 days, and then it will form it's chrysalis. As always, we will be sure to document it all!!


  1. I love this, and absolutely love raising caterpillars myself too. I think it's a great thing to teach kids, and they have quite an eye to catch those tiny little eggs!

  2. I am soooo inspired by your butterfly pics. We are definitely on the hunt this Spring.