Wednesday, June 04, 2008

51 caterpillars *

Even though the school is only a couple of miles from the arboretum, for some reason school has tons of monarch caterpillars and no milkweed plants left, and the situation at the arboretum is exactly the opposite. So, for the second time in about 2 weeks, teachers have besought me to rescue their hungry larvae and take them to the land of plenty.

Poor Mrs. M. actually bought 20 milkweed plants yesterday (at 6 bucks apiece, no less). By this morning, they had been eaten down to the stems. She was desperate. Mrs. W., who gave me 17 caterpillars to release just the other week, said her plants had recovered enough to take 20 of the smallest ones. Mrs. M. kept about 8 or 10 of the biggest ones that would be ready to pupate soon. I got the rest. I plucked them off the empty stems, from the rims of the plant-pots, from the walls and other surfaces where they had begun to wander when their food supply ran out. I just put them in a plastic box and took them to the arboretum. But before I made like Johnny Appleseed, (only with caterpillars), I took a picture looking down inside the box. That way I could take the time to count them later.

*There might have been a few small ones under the leaves that I missed.
Update: I turned today's adventure and pictures into a digital scrapbook page and posted it on Flickr.
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