This seems to be a good year for Monarch Butterflies, a species that sometimes runs into difficulties. Monarchs love a variety of flowers, but lay their eggs only on milkweed leaves. That’s because milkweed is all their finicky caterpillars will eat, which is one of the specie’s handicaps.
Above and below, we see a Monarch Butterfly amorously drawing nectar from a milkweed flower yesterday, while a Monarch Caterpillar voraciously munches the leaves of the same plant.
Those caterpillars, which look like a summer bracelet of yellow/white/black bands, gorge themselves for about two weeks. Then, they spin silk, attach themselves to their plant, and wrap themselves into hanging cocoons (chrysalises). In those cocoons, they’ll mysteriously transform into, and emerge as, an orange and black Monarch Butterfly that will feed on much more than milkweed.
Both the caterpillars and butterflies are brightly colored to warn predators that they are toxic (due to the early milkweed diet). (Brooklin, Maine)