TO~further the knowledge of nature, and encourage protection, and conservation of it.

Thank you to all who inspired me, taught me, and appreciated the sharing of my photos and information. My passion for God's creation has grown immensely and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to grow and to continue to grow...


click on the photos to enlarge them

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HERE SHE COMES~ a MOnarch is born

you can see the wing patterns the day before eclosing
the chrysalis remains a pristine lime green color, 
if there is brown coloring and no pattern, chances are
the chrysalis is infected and will burst ...this would need 
to be taken down and disposed of so it doesn't infect the
other butterflies, see the photo of
a "bad" chrysalis...see how the lime green
is turning brown...brown is NOT good...
but make sure you aren't seeing wing patterns 
don't want to toss out a wonderful butterfly by 

a "good' healthy chrysalis
NO brown coloring

The chrysalis begins to turn transparent
that is how you know it's time! 

the chrysalis begins to open

then pop, her abdomen emerges and wings quickly
after that.. 

drying and stretching her wings

then off to the Good Zoo (Oglebay) to
have Penny Miller tag them, we got a boy and a girl ! 
this is the girl, she is in the photos above...

isn't she beautiful!

this is the boy

he was still "drying" his wings, so he didn't 
open them as often, it was hard to get him in focus...
see the polka dots on the black lines? that means it's a boy

They were tagged and released at the environmental center at
Oglebay Park...in the butterfly garden... a real
paradise for them!! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Master Naturalist classes started up again Saturday, what a fun and informative day

At the farm of our instructor~
you can see the milkweed all throughout 
the pasture, what a beautiful paradise she lives in.

finding monarch caterpillars...
some of our class

the beautiful milkweed flower
with a visitor~honey bee
Milkweed is so important to the monarchs, I 
encourage anyone who can, to plant it, cultivate it
and spread it around! 

the left behind exoskeleton of someone's 
instar~ a grasshopper of sorts

view from the pasture

not sure how many eggs, or caterpillars
we actually found, will have to get a "head" count

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MCATS~morphing, what a miracle, what an honor and blessing to experience this three times over in one day...

Monarch caterpillar in "J" form awaiting it's metamorphosis into 
a chrysalis...

here you can see the long black tentacles all shriveled and twisted up
a true sign that metamorphosis is about to take place.

the cat begins to straighten out as the 
chrysalis begins to bulge and pop the skin

here you see the skin splitting just between the twisted black tentacles

and the chrysalis becomes more and more 

til it has almost all appeared and 
the cat squiggles and squirms round and round
in order to get the old skin to drop off

it finally drops off as the caterpillar twists and twists around
apparently securing itself even more to the top of the container

finally settling down, it begins to dry

and harden, you can see at this time where the butterfly 
head is, and antennae and even the legs will eventually be

here is a completely dry chrysalis all ready to begin
the metamorphosis into a beautiful adult monarch
butterfly... in about 10-14 days
this particular chrysalis below did NOT make it
it became infected and turned brown, only
10% of these make it...

each day there will be changes and I will photograph them as I can and post them...
an exciting time! 

here is the chrysalis of the actual caterpillar shown in this series changing... it appears
to be going to enclose soon, as you can see the wing pattern through the chrysalis wall...
this is 8:34 am Sunday August 19...

Here is the same Chrysalis 11:30 am August 19th, 
you can see so m uch more change...

I am expecting this to enclose Monday morning August 20th, it 
will be day 14

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mcats~monarch butterfly caterpillars~simply amazing

I have been thoroughly enjoying my garden this year, with swamp milkweed among many other wonderful host plants for fun bugs.
A few days ago I noticed the monarch cats on my milkweed. I was so excited since I had never seen them in person, I spent all day 
out taking photos, and have been spending probably 3hrs throughout the day photographing them.
They really are interesting.

my first photo after I discovered them...

I also found milkweed moth cats... very pretty and 
I noticed after they are done eating, they drop to 
the ground...will find out more later.. 

A bit hard to photograph since they are so long
and the depth of field in the morning with 
minimal lighting is a challenge.

Here you can see one just shed to a new instar
see the dark mass behind it? that's it's old skin! 

Swamp Milkweed~ Cinderella....
pretty plant

caterpillars eat and eat and eat, but
they also poop! this is 3 balls of 
frass just evacuated from the caterpillar...
it's green but it will turn black as it dries...
then fall to the ground...

"num num num num num" 

a beautiful fratillary came by to visit while
I was photographing the mcats.

one of the largest "bees" I have ever seen, 
I will find out the species and get back to post it.

and then there were more!
baby mcat, 7mm in length
teensy tiny tentacles

look how big they are when they are almost ready 
to turn into a butterfly! 

and here is the baby again two days old, 
look how long the tentacles are already...

size comparison to the large caterpillar several 
days old, here is a two day old baby...

the little things in life... 

and a good morning stretch...