Monarch Eclosion

I finally found a monarch caterpillar on one of my plants after a 3-4 year absence.  Knowing the poor success rate when I had them in the yard in previous years, I decided to try my hand at rearing this one inside.  I read a little on proper practices online and had received some advice from someone I work with (thanks Tim!) and watched as the little one put on the weight at the expense of my common milkweed I harvested from the garden.  Unfortunately the idea for a time lapse project came too late and .  I wasn’t prepared and wasn’t knowledgeable enough about the metamorphosis process.  I tried my best.  I made several mistakes and will hopefully remember these next time.  I also had a couple of equipment failures that caused me to miss a couple of gaps many hours in length.  Tim and his family have successfully reared and released a good number of monarchs this year and tag them for hopeful data points on the migratory routes (just like in birds).  He had an extra tag and I tagged the little female prior to her release.  Hopefully she will make it the ~1800 miles from central Missouri to central Mexico where she will overwinter before heading back north again next spring.

Even with the problems, I kind of like the outcome.  I can’t wait to try again… 😉