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EMERGENCY POST!!!
Adorable baby milkweed butterflies are READY TO BE BORN!!!

I am not sure if these are Monarch or Queen butterflies, and it DOESN’T MATTER because BOTH ARE FAT AND STUMPY with good A+ stripes and wiggly bits.

I love watching my butterfly fetuses move around and practice chomping before they hatch 😭

August ¾, 2018 (hey it’s 2 am I don’t know what day to call this!)

Good News!

It’s a Queen! Queens are closely related to monarchs and look very similar, but Queens have 3 pairs of tentacles, while Monarchs have 2:

(Above: Monarch baby, one set of tentacles by the head, the other set by his booty)

I didn’t realize they were born with them! A lot of newborn caterpillars look the same when they are born and I’m used to waiting until the first molt to know for sure.

Never seen a Queen before and have no idea what I’m talking about? That’s okay! Queens mostly stick to the south (they are not nearly as widespread as Monarchs), so if you haven’t spent much time in the southern edges of the US, you wouldn’t be familiar with them.

Left: Queen (white spots on the top wing!) Right: Monarch (black veins on the top wing!)

I’m excited, I’ve never seen a Queen caterpillar before! But…

Bad News!

The newborn baby milkweed butterflies… are cannibalistic. I thought the eggs on the leaf were far enough away from each other:

I was wrong. This morning, I had the happy little caterpillar you see above and a hole in the leaf where the other egg had been.

This wasn’t a case of “hungry newborn baby eats leaf and accidentally consumes sibling,” this caterpillar went out of her way to murder.

Stat tuned

August 4, 2018

Wait wait never mind he was just lost!!!!

Moar updates

There are a total of four baby Queens, they grew their first stripes, and they are starting their first molt! I can’t wait for their cute little stumpy tentacles to get longer!

August 6, 2018

image

The most precious bab

August 8, 2018

Third instar already?

Look at those tentacly bits 😭

August 9, 2018 (morning)

They grow so fast!

Perfect in every way 💛🖤💛

August 9, 2018 (evening)

Back to the Microscope!

I can’t even handle this 😭

August 10, 2018

Y’all

The microscope pics were from this morning. I’m home from work now

And

They’re all molting again

August 10, 2018

This season’s hottest trend:

Tentacles

Queens are now 4th instar (caterpillars usually pupate after their 5th)

August 11, 2018

SO LARGE after less than 12 hours!!!

August 11, 2018 (night)

Also checkout the gifset of these guys I posted separately! [link]