I've probably mentioned this before, but one reason to publish blog posts like this is to have a diary of events over the seasons and years.
For example, remember the monarch caterpillar from a few weeks ago?
Now I have a record there were monarch caterpillars active the week of October 18, 2017.
Last week I discovered a newly emerged monarch butterfly drying its wings.
It was only a few feet from where I took the photograph of the caterpillar.
Wouldn't it be cool if it was the same insect? Or perhaps its one of the caterpillar's siblings?
In any case, it is a male. You can tell from the scent gland on its hind wing. It flew away shortly afterwards.
Wonder where it is this week.
Have you seen any monarchs?
After posting about the queen caterpillars on our rush milkweeds last week, this week I came across another scene.
Yes, there's a butterfly and a caterpillar. Do you see what is unusual about this?
Let's take a closer look.
Catch it yet?
Maybe if you see the caterpillar more closely?
The caterpillar has two pairs of filaments or "tubercles" that look like antennae. That means it is a monarch butterfly caterpillar, Danaus plexippus.
The butterfly is a queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus. The queen caterpillar has three pairs of tubercles and different patterned stripes (see comparison here).
They are life stages of two different species, although they are related.
Yes, our milkweeds are busy this year.
It's always a good week when monarch butterflies are flying in your yard.
Generally migrating monarchs arrive in Arizona in the end of August. It would be nice if we are seeing some adults who completed their life cycles here.