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Plants & Gardens Blog

Monarch Caterpillar Goes Green (Video)

Nature is often beautiful and sometimes cruel. It is also frequently funny, especially if you have a scatological sense of humor. Case in point: this footage of a monarch caterpillar, taken last week in the Native Flora Garden meadow by curator Uli Lorimer.

All kidding aside, any sign of monarchs thriving in Brooklyn or any other urban area is excellent news. The eastern population of monarchs (Danaus plexippus) has been declining for years due to habitat loss, but “pollinator pathways” in cities can help adult butterflies make the incredible 3,000-mile fall migration to Mexico. The caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, which used to be widespread in the United States. The caterpillar above is munching on one common species, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

More: Read about other Brooklyn butterflies in All About Bugs: Introduction to Butterflies

Beyond the Native Flora Garden, you can also see lots of milkweed—and if you’re lucky, more healthy monarchs—in BBG’s Discovery Garden and Perennial Border. Those making the transition into butterflies at this time of the year will be preparing to head south. Let us know if you spot any by commenting below!

Sarah Schmidt oversees BBG's digital editorial content, including the blog and how-to articles, and edits the Guides for a Greener Planet handbook series.

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