The last Monarch egg that I found at Wild Peace Farm hatched this morning. For the last month or two, the eggs have been on easily every 4th Milkweed leaf, but on Sunday I found a number of caterpillars, mostly big ones, and only one sweet little egg. This morning that first instar is sitting in front of me, eating its egg shell. I think this means that the balance has tipped, that the butterflies emerging from their chrysali are now almost all coming out with a body prepared not for re-pro-duction but for migration. They will remain in these sexless adult bodies for almost 9 months, flying to Mexico and beginning the return trip before gaining carnal knowledge and leaving babies along the way. This generation leaving now will not return to Maryland, but its children, or its children’s children, will.
Or I hope so. With plummeting population numbers it is unclear what the future holds for this majestic species. Butt there is still a lot to hope for, and who could be a better ambassador for hope than a barely hatched caterpillar that holds a butterfly inside?
Meanwhile, Monarchs are not the only species migrating. The fall bird migration has begun, the trees are changing color, and I am ready to once again write about something other than my little angel insects. I mean I think!