Haven’t seen as many butterflies this year as we normally do. Mind you that’s just a casual observation, I’m not sitting outside counting them as they fly by. See my previous post planting our butterfly garden.
Anyway, while doing some much needed weeding this past weekend, a frisky monarch kept dive-bombing me. As far as butterflies go, they can be pretty aggressive…
Luckily I was able to get a few shots of this one while it was landing on the milkweed laying eggs..
In addition to the butterfly, I found some fat caterpillars that had been feasting on the milkweed. These guys will probably start working on their chrysalis pretty soon..
The monarch is considered the “king” of butterflies, here are some interesting facts:
- A black spot on an inside surface of its hind wing distinguishes the male Monarch butterflies from the females that have no such spot
- The monarch butterfly does not have lungs; breathing takes place through tiny vents in the thorax or abdomen called spiracles, and an organized arrangement of tubes called trachea, distribute the oxygen through the Monarch’s body system
- They have a 10 cm wingspan and weigh between 0.25 to 0.75 grams
- The wings flap slower than other butterflies at about 300 to 720 times a minute
- Senses of smell and vision help the Monarch butterflies to assess its environment
- They have a broad spectrum perception of colors and can see even the UV light that humans cannot
- Their process of communication uses colors and scents. Chemical discharged from the rear wing glands help the males to attract its mate
For more about the monarch, check out this site: http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html
There is also a neat group called the Monarch Watch Stop, they’re part of Kansas University and are dedicated to monarch conservation. For a small $16 fee you can become part of the Monarch Waystation program by turning your garden into a “certified” monarch waystation. Check it out…