Did you know that as of July 2022, the Monarch Butterfly has been classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered?! Threatened by habitat destruction and climate change, all surviving sturgeon species – also migratory, found across the northern hemisphere – are now at risk of extinction due to dams and poaching, pushing the world’s most Critically Endangered group of animals yet closer to the brink. (Source: https://www.iucn.org/press-release/202207/migratory-monarch-butterfly-now-endangered-iucn-red-list)
You can help by spreading Milkweed seeds! Milkweeds are native perennials that are critical to the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. Monarch caterpillars go through 5 stages, or instars, before building a chrysalis and becoming a butterfly. This caterpillar is in its 5th instar. Having filled up on Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), it now needs a safe place to build its chrysalis. Once a butterfly, this caterpillar will most likely begin migrating south to overwinter in Mexico. The same butterfly will return to the eastern region next spring!