Two Rhode Island transplants have settled here in Northwest Florida on Escambia Bay. In Rhode Island, we spent most of our summers and fall days sailing the waters of Narragansett Bay, Block Island Sound and Buzzards Bay. We are so delighted to have found another Bay to enjoy.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
MONARCH IN WATING
"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." ~ Anonymous
Yesterday I volunteered at the 3rd Annual Butterfly Festival at the Panhandle Butterfly House in Navarre. My station was the second stop in the Life Cycle of a butterfly; namely, the caterpillar. We had three different caterpillars on display--the black swallowtail, the orange barred sulphur and the Monarch caterpillars, like the two below.
These two Monarch caterpillars are hungrily munching away on a Milkweed plant, their host plant. The job of the caterpillar is to eat and eat and eat. As the caterpillar grows it splits its skin and sheds it about 4 or 5 times. Food eaten at this time is stored and used later as an adult. Caterpillars can grow 100 times their size during this stage. For example, a monarch butterfly egg is the size of a pinhead and the caterpillar that hatches from this tiny egg isn't much bigger. But it will grow up to 2 inches long in several weeks.
Monarch egg on leaf
Newly hatched caterpillar
Looking for more food. Soon this caterpillar will be ready for the next stage of its life--the chrysalis stage. Then it will emerge from the chrysalis as a lovely Monarch Butterfly.
The last three pictures are not mine, but were included from reference sources for visual clarity.