August 28, 2015
It has now been ten days since our caterpillars were delivered and their growth rate has been remarkable. After a week and a half of munching on milkweed leaves, stems, and pods some of the caterpillars have more than quadrupled in size. Monarch caterpillars go through five stages of growth, known as instars, during which they’re storing fat and energy that will carry them through their pupae stage. Currently, most of our caterpillars are in the second or third instar stages.
There are three subspecies of Monarchs, with ours belonging to the subspecies Danaus plexippus. These little guys are native to North America but can now be found as far away as New Zealand and Spain. Monarchs are famous for their massive annual migration across North America. Every year millions of Monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains head south to the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. In the spring, an all new generation of butterflies return north to the feeding grounds of their ancestors.
Check back next week for an update on our caterpillars as well as more information about Monarch butterflies and the Waystation project.