Even though we are approaching winter, and the days are getting colder, we in the South are still able to enjoy butterflies and their caterpillars (sometimes well into December). I still find Monarch caterpillars on the Mexican Milkweed. We are trying to raise them to adulthood in the building, hoping that on the day of emergence we have temperate enough weather for them to survive. Here are some pics of the different stages of development.
Caterpillar on a Milkweed plant, Monarch
caterpillars only feed on various species of
Milkweed, genus Asclepias
Caterpillar hangs from perch by back legs,
making the distinctive J shape, preparing
to form a chrysalis.
Caterpillar to chrysalis
The chrysalis on the left contains a butterfly
close to emerging.
Butterfly emerges from the chrysalis
Although the caterpillars only feed on Milkweed,
the adults will utilize a number of nectar plants.
Notice the 2 spots on the hindwings. These are
Androconial Patches, which only the males possess, and
release scents used to attract females.