Sunday, October 4, 2009
A Late Monarch
This late Monarch had a very close call today. Ed was mowing and saw it just in time to mow around his milkweed leaf. It's so interesting the way Mother Nature hedges her bets. This caterpillar is late.The milkweed is yellowing. Horizontal stalks to hang a chrysalis on are few. Every year the weather patterns are slightly different. Some years the early butterflies succeed, some years the late ones do. They certainly hatch out over a long period of time. It's hard to imagine that this one will find enough to eat, then attach to a plant and have the two weeks or more as a chrysalis that are necessary to become a butterfly. Lately just a day with enough sun to dry off a butterfly's wings has been a rarity.
The same thing happens with plants. Dill seedlings are appearing now that have little chance of survival,but there are other dill seeds waiting that will wait until spring before taking their chances. It's this magnificent excess of seed and egg production that allows the system to work.
Just the same I can't help rooting for this late caterpillar. He avoided the mowing machine, maybe his luck will hold, or maybe he will just be too late.