Saturday, May 28, 2011

Very Hungry Caterpillars

Peekaboo Too!
This caterpillar is busily eating a milkweed leaf. It's growing big and plump. Talk about a very hungry caterpillar -- in the past week, it's eaten every single leaf off of some of the milkweed plants:
Archie Was Here
We'll see if this milkweed recovers. There are a few reasons to think it might.

First, the milkweed wasn't eaten all the way to the ground.

Secondly, there's a lot less of it to attract other caterpillars, so they probably won't try to eat the little sticks that remain.

And thirdly, the green of the stems shows that they contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a green-colored pigment that plays an important role in the way that plants convert sunlight into the energy to grow. Plants usually keep most of their chlorophyll in their leaves, but as you can see, it can be in stems too.

We don't know yet whether or not these milkweed sticks will have enough energy to grow back. Come back in a week to see an update!

Here's a picture of a milkweed plant turning into a leafless stick:

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