image gallery: pictures of milkweed, Monarch caterpillars, and Monarch butterflies

life among the milkweed... a bustling community of bees, bugs, insects, and, of course, caterpillars and butterflies

see also:
raising Monarch caterpillars in Santa Barbara
Monarch caterpillars eat butternut squash
tachinid flies are killing my monarch caterpillars!
Monarch caterpillar failed to complete pupating into chrysalis... why?

(hint - right click on any image below to open and see at full size)


yellow flower tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)


red flower "blood flower" tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)


milkweed seed pod


milkweed seed with parachute


orange Oleander milkweed aphids


honey bee on milkweed flower


monarch butterfly egg on milkweed


monarch caterpillars!


red-and-black "seed bug" [Melacoryphus lateralis] on milkweed plant, also sometimes called a milkweed bug


orange red-and-black "seed bug" [Melacoryphus lateralis] on milkweed plant, also sometimes called a milkweed bug


ladybug on milkweed, looking for milkweed aphids to snack on?


fly on milkweed... is this an ordinary housefly or the dreaded Tachinid fly?
update: it is not a Tachinid fly.


Monarch caterpillar eating milkweed


Monarch caterpillar on milkweed


Monarch butterfly on milkweed


Monarch butterfly on milkweed flower

 

Comments / Questions / Feedback:

Comment by mark on Saturday, May 21, 2016
What is the best way to germinate swamp milkweed? In the ground or in a container?

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Mark, Thanks for your question. I'm not sure. I grow tropical milkweed here in California. I've planted the seed both in pots (and then transplant) as well as directly in the ground. Both work. I'm not sure what the best way to germinate or plant swamp milkweed is though. Good luck!

Comment by Gail Feeney on Friday, May 26, 2017
Where do the caterpillars go when they eat all of the milkweed? Some of mine are 1 1/2 inches and bigger around than my little finger. I never see where they go, they are just gone.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Gail, Thanks for your question. If you still have some milkweed leaves left, it means the caterpillars have left to pupate (find a spot to hang in a J and then turn into a chrysalis). They can travel up to 50 to 100 feet before they find a spot to hang.  If you've run out of milkweed (all the leaves are eaten) then the caterpillars may have left to attempt to find more milkweed if they aren't big enough to pupate. I often will see caterpillars on our milkweed plants for a couple of days, and then they "disappear". Then often we'll notice a chrysalis somewhere in the yard (on a bush, a wall, or a fence for example), though also often we don't find the chrysalises until after the butterflies have hatched and the chrysalis is empty. We just keep our milkweed watered and grow more when and where we can, and enjoy letting nature takes it's course, though occasionally a kid will "capture" a caterpillar and feed it milkweed leaves in a container so they can see it turn into a chrysalis, and then a butterfly. Thanks again for commenting!

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Do you have a comment or question?
Fill in your name and comment below and click [Submit Your Comment].
All relevant comments will be reviewed and posted above.

Your name:
Your email:
Your comment / feedback:


Please include your email address if you are asking a question or providing information, as I may want to email you directly to answer questions and/or verify information. Email addresses will be kept private and will not be posted. I may only post comments that I think will be helpful to other readers. I won't post comments if I need to clarify or confirm information in them but am unable to email the person who commented, so please include your email address.