Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week One

Our hatchlings are now around one week old. They are technically "first instars," which means they have not yet molted. According to Monarch Watch, they will go through five instar stages before they pupate.
Over the last week, the little guys have been munching away, as evidenced by some holes in the leaves of the milkweed. When they hatched, they were tiny, translucent things with black heads. Now, a week later, they have clearly visible stripes, which will continue to get more vividly yellow and black as they get older.

You can also see the beginnings of their tentacles at both ends. As the caterpillars get larger, the tentacles will become dramatic, and look like antennae.  In fact, the caterpillars have antennae, but they are extremely small, and located on either side of their mouths. At Archie's Garden, we don't (yet) have the means of photographing anything so small, but there's a good diagram, also at Monarch Watch.

Meanwhile, there has been at least one other adult who has come by to lay additional eggs on the milkweed.

Come visit again soon, and we'll keep updating this page with the latest goings-on from Archie's Garden!

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