Life Cycle of Monarchs.
Thanks to Julie Jorling of Saranac Lake and Amy Gould of Jamestown for sending us photos of different stages of the monarch's life. When the monarch caterpillar is large enough, it attaches its hind feet to an overhead surface and shrugs off its skin. The soft green body hardens into the shape of the chrysalis, and inside the body reforms into an adult butterfly. In this picture you can see the wings as the butterfly gets ready to break out and begin its new life. Adult monarchs feed on the nectar of many kinds of flowers, getting the sugars they need for flight to Mexico. Females will lay eggs on milkweed, and the caterpillar cycle will begin again.
Read more about monarchs in "Got Milkweed" in the June 2016 Conservationist.
KATHLEEN O'BRIEN, DEC BIOLOGIST