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Monarch caterpillar on milkweed

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed

The caterpillar and the milkweed cleave one unto the other. Unless the Monarch butterfly can find a milkweed plant to lay her eggs on her future caterpillars are doomed. Oh, one asks, “Why must it be only milkweed?”  There is no answer in the rich mosaic of choices which were made thousands of generations ago by the ancestors of the awesome monarch butterfly.

Why do they hang in clumps in certain trees? Why this tree and not those trees? It appears that the choices are hardwired into each individual and the success of the species depends on the individual repeating the instructions verbatim.

Is our behavior governed by some imperative of which we are unaware?

There are the patterns that butterflies follow … and the patterns that the milkweed plant, with its elegant pods, follows.  At what time and temperature will the pod release its floaty white seeds? Will the seeds grow at the right time to match the need of the caterpillar for succulent foliage to browse upon? Our mysterious world and its magic!

Milkweed pods and their silky seeds

Milkweed pods and their silky seeds

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