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.
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.
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.