Each of the three Mystery Caterpillars wandered around the aquarium for a few minutes, found a spot surrounded by leaves, and tucked themselves into their cocoons.

The smallest one went first and probably got the best site:

Mystery Caterpillar - Cocoon 1
Mystery Caterpillar – Cocoon 1

The medium one:

Mystery Caterpillar - Cocoon 2
Mystery Caterpillar – Cocoon 2

The largest caterpillar munched the leaf around the new cocoon and removed some of the silk (?) wrapper. It looks like the caterpillar’s fur falls off and becomes insulation inside the wrapper.

The large one with mostly black fur managed to bind two leaves together:

Mystery Caterpillar - Cocoon 3
Mystery Caterpillar – Cocoon 3

The Monarch remained calm, well above the scramble:

Monarch Chrysalis - with skin
Monarch Chrysalis – with skin

The caterpillar’s skin (or whatever it is) remained loosely attached to the outside.

All of which puts me in mind of Della Lu:


I wonder what they’re thinking after they type Y E S …

6 thoughts on “Cocooning

  1. We checked out all of our milkweed patches today as we do most days and have one chrysalis about ready and two others that have were just made. It’s always quite amazing. My wife informed me that only about10% of the eggs even hatch due to being eaten by other insects. One major predator of the caterpillars are wheel bugs. It’s hard to not want to take them out, as nature should take its own course, but we do want more monarchs. It’s not like death in the insect world is occurring for any other reason other than survival.

    I have not heard of this book (The Peace War) or the author before, seems like it would be worth a read. I don’t read as much as I used to and really should.

    1. There’s a sequel to The Peace War, called Marooned in Real Time. The SF book club did a combined edition several years ago. Copyrights 1984 and 1986, respectively. It’s been a long time since I read it, bt MIR is (I think) more of a mystery/thriller than Peace War.

      1. We have Across Realtime, a collection of The Ungoverned with the other two:

        Acrid smoke drifted into the conference area.
        “High flux nuke.” The voice was calm, almost mechanical.
        “You animals! he spat down upon the seated northerners.

        Swenson lunged forward. “God damn it! Schwartz isn’t one of my customers!”

        1. Looks like Doubleday recycled the compilation title. My two-for-one book club edition (1986-7 or so) has the same name.

  2. FWIW, we get Monarchs as commuters in the spring and fall. I assume most would travel west of the Cascades, but we get a few tough ones over here.

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