Last fall I raised two monarch caterpillars named Maddowpillar and Lambchop. This week my daughter and I found three more caterpillars on a tiny patch of milkweed (which somehow escaped a weed whacker) near a church fence in Nutley, NJ. They are nestled in a shoebox and munching away.
There is a big difference between these new, nameless caterpillars and the ones we raised in the fall. Monarchs go through four generations in a year. These little guys are part of Generation 3. They will become butterflies in a few weeks, then they will only live a few weeks after that–just long enough to find mates and lay the eggs for Generation 4. That generation is the one that does something miraculous–they migrate thousands of miles to Mexico, hibernating for the winter, then flying back north again to lay the eggs for Generation 1.
So, these three have a big responsibility–to raise the generation that keeps their species alive. Help me name them, will you?