The mid-August report on the Monarch Butterfly’s comeback here is good. They’re regularly landing and taking off in the gardens and occasionally putting on mock dogfight exhibitions over the flowers.

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Multitudes of their caterpillars (larvae) are grazing without caution on milkweed, perhaps sensing that their bright striping is blinking warnings to would-be predators: TOXIC>YUCK>DON’T DARE! Toxic Milkweed is the only food that the caterpillars can eat, which is one of the reasons why they are threatened.

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Below, two male Monarchs work the purple Echinacea in peace. We know their sex because only the males have a dark, lozenge-shaped spot on the first vein of each rear wing.

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(Brooklin, Maine)