Of butterflies and weeds

MBrealSo here is the real Monarch caterpillar chewing on an orange Butterfly Weed. The butterfly that laid the egg on the weed was born in the southern United States of Mexican parentage, destined to make little caterpillars in the northern states before returning to dust. This one is extraordinary. It will fly all the way back to Mexico to overwinter with other butterflies — in clusters that can be heavy enough to break tree limbs. Imagine anything about a butterfly that could be “heavy”…

I also discovered, from the Missouri Department of Conservation, that Monarchs, in all their life stages, are poisonous to potential predators. Milkweeds carry toxins that transfer in various toxicities to the insects — signaled by their distinctive orange and black color, of course.

I have discovered, beautiful as they are, Monarchs are extraordinarily strong and dangerous. I’ve been thinking of a lot of goofy farm parallels, but best leave it alone… It’s nice to have flashy, flighty visitors beginning from so far away every year.

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