/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » caterpillar growth

We pulled 3 more milkweed leaves off the plants and swapped out the old, chewed leaves with the fresh ones. Unwittingly, my little milkweed-leaf-harvester (that would be Brendan) ended up with a leaf that has a caterpillar egg on it! :) You can see to the right the larger white dot on the leaf–it looks just like one of the eggs from the other pictures. Whether or not it will hatch is a different matter; these caterpillars are HUNGRY little guys and are eating pretty indiscriminately. 😮 I don’t know if they would eat an egg in the process, but I don’t discount the possibility that they might knock it off the leaf and I don’t know what happens if an egg hatches off of a leaf. But I figure it’s got a better chance in the jar in the house than on the plants outside with a bunch of wasps and flies around.

So my friend in Allen Park was right–these things poop like crazy! I was truly amazed, and Brendan was dumbfounded. And seeing as I’m not the one in the poo-fascination-stage, that says a lot. 😉

As I was cleaning out the jar and discarding the old leaves, I noticed the guy to the left…he had recently (like very recently) shed his old skin. Just like snakes, these caterpillars outgrow their skins and continue on in the growth-cycle. So this was worth cataloging, since it’s the first one we’ve seen with the 3 caterpillars. And the guys that shed isn’t even the biggest of the 3 of them, so it’s pretty safe to assume that the other ones have also shed and we missed it.

Here’s the requisite photo of them with the dime that gives you an idea of their relative size. Each hatched at different points, which at this point is pretty easy to discern with the naked eye. And I’m supposing that the largest little dude is going to hit chrysalis before the others and emerge from chrysalis first.

We’ll be swapping out leaves for them the day after next, unless they chomp through the fresh leaves sooner. At which point, there’ll be new photos of them, showing their growth. 😉.

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  • Karen(Chevy)

    Great shots!!

    I’ll have to agree that the poop is facsinating! Just wait, it gets bigger yet LOL.

    In their final stage they can eat a whole leave in half a day so be prepared.

    Cool that you found another egg! I don’t think they eat them either but you never know. I happened upon another butterfly laying eggs yesterday. I hope some day you are able to catch that in the act!

    Look what my daughter found:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Albino_monarch_butterfly.jpg