Eggs   | Small caterpillars |   Large caterpillars |   Chrysalis |   Hatching |   Old age

Grasping a milkweed leaf with her front legs, the female bends her abdomen underneath it to deposit a single egg. Like most mid-summer monarchs, she probably lived five or six weeks and died in late summer.

Before laying an egg, she had to identify and select a milkweed plant from all the other vegetation. Monarch caterpillars will eat no other food.

Late hatching monarchs in this region – from early September until a killing frost -- are programmed to fly, with tens of millions of their species, to volcanic peaks in central Mexico.

Even understanding that, we were astonished that a little male we'd tagged and released on September 1, 1999 was discovered next February in Mexico’s El Rosario preserve, 2255 miles from home.