A heat wave equals a Monarch butterfly wave.
The soaring temperatures in California brought about the early arrival of Monarch butterflies. Deanna Cat, an organic gardener and environmental health specialist in the Central Coast of California, woke up to unusually high April temperatures and these black-and-orange garden beauties.
Monarchs are incredibly sensitive to the weather. Development time of eggs, larvae, and pupae are directly correlated to temperatures, according to The Monarch Conservation Fund. In cool spring weather, they usually stay in “chrysalis” (the pupa stage) for at least 2 or 3 weeks. In warmer summer periods they can emerge in as soon as 7 days.
When they first emerge they hang upside down to dry, but often fall which can result in crumpled or deformed wings. However, the weekend heat allowed them to dry quickly and spread their vivid wings.
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As an iconic and loved species in California, monarchs have received a lot of attention from conservationists. Many projects exist across North America, including campaigns to plant and grow more milkweed—their only source of food.
Featured image: @deannacat3