Milkweeds & radiotagging Monarchs

Chip Taylor and crew got some blog time for their recent foray into radiotracking monarch butterflies for short distances. There are some great photos in the blog, and apparently Nat Geo was filming the project for a later program.

Keep an eye on those milkweed patches. Not only will you soon find those aposematically colored caterpillars munching on the toxic leaves, but the plants are one of the better places to see ant/aphid mutualism at work. I’ve seen several species of ants tending their aphid flocks in just the last week. Once the inflorescence opens, the milkweed patches become pollinator magnets. If I might dare improve upon the Bard, that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet, but never so fine as a milkweed. So, teachers on summer vacation, don’t forget to stop and smell the milkweeds!

Jeff Witters