Friday, August 27, 2010

Monarch Surprise

I found this alongside our house. The nearest patch of milkweed is a good 20 feet away. It seems after they've reached the last instar, adult caterpillars will abandon the host plant and make their chrysalis elsewhere. A few of course do stay on the plant but I've found this to be uncommon, (though not rare).

It hangs here like a fine piece of jewelry.

Note the wonderful shade of green accented by the black and gold trim.

A ring of gold spots circles the bottom. I can't help but think their function is only to look beautiful.

2 comments:

  1. can termites take over a cocoon like this one?

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  2. Not that I'm aware of. It sounds like you've witnessed or herd of a Monarch chrysalis that's become host to either braconid wasps or tachinid flies. The result to both is several maggots consuming the monarch from the inside out. After the host forms a chrysalis the maggots finish the job.

    http://monarchparasites.uga.edu/parasites_in_monarchs/index.html

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