The Case Of The Missing Monarch Caterpillar Has Been Solved!
(Dover, NH) - I thought that the adult caterpillar, whom we had named Houdini, might have been done in by one of my dogs.
My family has been collecting monarch caterpillars this year in hopes of helping restore the population of Monarch butterflies. We have fed them milkweed, watched them form their chrysalis' and marveled when a butterfly has emerged.
One morning, we found that one of the caterpillars had somehow pushed the cover off its enclosure and escaped, and our lengthy search turned up nothing. I figured Houdini might have become snack food for one of my dogs. But yesterday, I walked into my kitchen to an amazing sight.
A newly-emerged butterfly was fluttering it's wings against the window screen. It seems Houdini had crawled though the open window and formed its chrysalis on the window casing. We opened the screen, and she was gone. (Yes, you can tell the gender of the butterfly by its markings.)
This will make 16 butterflies that have made their way from our home to their winter migration destination in Mexico or California.