Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Future Queens

Wandering through the garden early this morning, checking the status of some recently planted plants, my eye was caught by something colorful against the green stem of a milkweed plant.

No, it wasn't the Monarch caterpillar that I've been hoping might turn up, but it was the next best thing - a Queen caterpillar. As you can see, they are marked very similarly to the Monarchs, even as the butterflies themselves are, but the Queen caterpillar has three matched sets of fleshy tentacles protruding from the body.

You can see those tentacles - and their shadows - even more clearly in this shot of one of the caterpillars that had crawled off the milkweed and onto the nearby fence. Most likely looking for a likely resting spot for a chrysalis.

I'll keep hoping that one of my early morning walks around the garden will turn up Monarch larvae someday soon, but, in the meantime, these beautiful future Queens made my day.


The Monarch migration continues. You can report your sightings, as I reported my first sighting of the fall last week, at Journey South. Be a part of this important Citizen Science project.


  1. Hi Dorothy, those as so beautiful larvae. I wonder how different are adults of Queens are from the monarchs. It is also serendipitous that my posts are all butterflies, and the posts i've just opened are butterflies and now catterpillars. I wonder what lessons these "coincidences" are teaching me. I wonder if they are prodding me to resume my studies on butterflies, on my own that is. thanks. You might want to see the sample butterflies from this part of the world.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Andrea. Butterflies are a big part of my habitat garden. I enjoy taking pictures of them and their larvae and I enjoy looking at pictures that others have taken. I just took a look at your blog and your pictures are wonderful! Many of the butterflies that you photographed in the Phillipines look similar to ones we have here and probably are related. But they are gorgeous.