Hungry Monarch Caterpillars

Our Lens-Artists challenge from guest host Priscilla at Scillagrace is to “present a “Getting To Know You” post showing your relationship with a subject you’ve photographed. The subject could be a Person, a Place, a Culture, an Object…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.”

I’ve always enjoyed watching butterflies as they fly from one flower to another so I planted a butterfly garden several years ago. The more I watched them the more I wanted to learn about them. Monarchs frequently fly through the area to feed and lay their eggs on milkweed plants.

Monarch butterflies will feed on many different nectar plants. I have found Mexican Sunflowers to be a favorite for them and many other varieties of butterflies. By summer the garden will be covered with zinnias, Mexican Sunflowers, coneflowers, and other nectar plants.

Right now my garden is in it’s early stages with very few blooms. I’m afraid the few Monarch butterflies that have come by my garden have been disappointed in the slim pickings. The only nectar plant blooming right now is a single Mexican sunflower with multiple blooms. I’ve been watching the butterflies drink their fill.

Monarch butterfly on Mexican Sunflower

Every year I enjoy getting to know the caterpillars before they move on to become butterflies. I’ve learned their job is to eat so they have the strength to transform into a chrysalis.

The only plant that Monarch caterpillars feed on is milkweed (Asclepias). This year the female Monarchs laid their eggs on just about every available milkweed leaf they could find. The eggs hatched into tiny caterpillars and for the second year in a row they have devoured every leaf on every milkweed plant.

I observed the first group of caterpillars for several days and observed how quickly they grew before crawling off to make their chrysalis.

The caterpillars like to spin their chrysalis in a safe place and I very rarely can find them. Hopefully all the these caterpillars will emerge as beautiful Monarchs.

Many thanks to Priscilla at for this Photo Challenge. Please be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

34 thoughts on “Hungry Monarch Caterpillars

  1. Beautiful Beth – you really captured these colorful little guys! Susan Gutterman, one of our followers, recently posted a video of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis – it was amazing. Her timing was wonderful and as she says, really lucky!

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    1. Tina, thank you. I will check out Susan’s blog. We had a chrysalis out in the open last year. I tried for several days to capture a video of the butterfly emerging but it never happened. I still don’t know why it didn’t emerge.

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  2. This brought me a great big smile! Thanks so much for having a butterfly garden. Your captures are superb!
    Keep us posted please. Happy Wednesday Beth!

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  3. I’m in 2 minds, definitely, if I should wich for (more) of those caterpillars here. On the one hand, they would surely eat our plants – some at least – but ion th eother hand Monarchs seem to be in the danger of dying out, and thus every single caterpillar is good sign.

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      1. We have a “wildflower area” which we keep unmoved except for once in late autumn, and for years we have tried to grow milkweed there, but withour success. It basically Mexican Hats that grow there, and those in abundance, but barely any other wildflower.

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