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Hatchlings Away

Contributed by Carol Cullar

Here in Maverick County on the Rio Grande we began to see monarchs from Mexico on March 16 this year. They were welcomed by lush growths of A. oenotheroides and promptly laid eggs in large numbers on the six inch high plants.

Those eggs had to endure predators and a bad freeze, some were even at risk from being stepped on by cows in the pasture. Nevertheless, some of the caterpillars made it to maturity, and since April 20th, eight have hatched and been released to head north. Conveniently enough, there were four females and four males that survived from an original counting of fifty eggs. So be on the lookout for a second wave of beautifully marked and richly colored monarchs to head across Central Texas. What do the milkweed patches look like this time of year? Will these scattered survivors find mates and viable milkweed plants for the next generation? Will scattered hatchlings like this get to join the gene pool?

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