Thursday, June 6, 2013
Monarch Butterfly Eggs
The Monarchs that are arriving here now are the second or third generation from those that left Mexico a few months ago.
As soon as the females arrive they seek out milkweed plants and lay eggs, usually on the underside of the new plant leaves.
The eggs are tiny but beautiful with amazing detailed design as can be seen in the picture above.
The egg in this picture can just be seen at the tip of the middle leaf, where the little creamy white dot is.
The eggs in these pictures were laid this past Monday morning, and I took the pictures last evening, except for the picture of the butterfly, which I took last fall.
What I find amazing and mysterious is how the female Monarch can distinguish the tiny milkweed plants from all the other native prairie plants in the garden.
Many of these little eggs will be parasitized by even smaller wasps, or the caterpillars parasitized by a local fly. So, not many make it to become an adult butterfly.
The milkweed leaves look kind of smooth until a closer look is taken. Then they become fuzzy jungles of thick growths on the leaf surface.
Looked at very close like the top picture these eggs look similar to the giant eggs in the movie Alien. It is not too hard to see that sci fi special effects people look to real nature for their ideas.
I will try to get pictures of the eggs hatching and post them soon. It normally takes 3 to 4 days for the eggs to hatch, so sometime tonight or tomorow.