Thank you so much to my friends Charles and George Ryan and Mom Catherine for helping with my Monarch film project. 

Charles and George Ryan Monarch caterpillars ©Kim Smith 2015

Nature’s Compass ~  My current group of nine Monarchs are synchronized, all lined up on a north-south axis and pupating within moments of each other.

Monarch caterpillars north south ©Kim Smith 2015JPG

From the moment a caterpillar emerges, internally it begins to form the adult parts of its body. Adult Monarchs have magnetic receptors along the inner margins of their thorax, which help guide them on their south to north, north to south migration. I wonder if the magnetic receptors are here at work in the caterpillars north-south pattern of pupating.

Monarch caterpillars J-shape, pupating ©Kim Smith 2015All nine hung in a J-shape on the north-south axis as well. Since I took this photo three more have also pupated on the north-south axis. In the above photo, you can see the center caterpillar and caterpillar to the far left are in the midst of changing from a caterpillar to a chrysalis (pupating).






  1. Kim, we can’t thank you enough for the important work you are doing. I was a little depressed about not seeing any monarchs last year, and overjoyed to see them back in good numbers this year. Your distribution of milkweed plants and posts educating people as to the importance of keeping the monarch (and other pollinators) alive and well must have some hand in their return. Bravo! Thank you!


    1. Thank you Chris for your very kind comment. There are lots of people spreading the word about the Monarchs. I think its fantastic that there is such tremendous interest in the butterflies and speaks to what a great community that we are blessed to belong.

      From the many billions in the 1970s when the Monarchs were first discovered and counted, to a record low in 2013 of only 35 million, in 2014 we are saw a slight increase. Hopefully the numbers will continue to rise with Monarch corridors being created and an increased awareness of the importance of milkweed, and other wildflowers. The butterflies are typically counted in December and the results made available in January.

      So happy to have had Meadow and Atticus participate in filmmaking. There is another batch of butterflies coming and I may call on them again!

      Liked by 1 person

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