While mowing the pasture the other day I saw a fluttering monarch butterfly.
I thought, “Cool, I’m watching this butterfly emerge from the chrysalis.” However, as I watched I realized that for some reason the butterfly had been stuck in this position and now was hopelessly damaged. I helped it out of the chrysalis but its wings were damaged and all it could do was flutter, but not fly.
I continued mowing.
There were plenty more milkweed plants that were teeming with life. That’s the Common Buckeye Butterfly and the Alfalfa Butterfly (see my last post).
Here is what the seed pods have inside when they are ripe. (Spinning, anyone?)
I identified this one in Bug Guide.net as the Small Milkweed Bug (also the Common Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii). It’s surprising how many similar looking bugs you find when you google “red and black bug in CA”.
I had to look closely to see the identifying markings. The Guide says: “Adults suck nectar from flowers of various herbaceous plants, and also feed on milkweed seeds(?). Also reported to be scavengers and predators, especially in spring when milkweed seeds are scarce. They have been reported feeding on honey bees, monarch caterpillars and pupae, and dogbane beetles, among others.”
Here is more life, but I’m not going to try and specifically ID this one.
And the circle continues…
The other photos were from a couple of weeks ago and I just saw this monarch caterpillar a few days ago on another milkweed.