And the Spider Ate the Monarch

Spider Eats Monarch Butterfly                                                         The first team of Monarch Butterfly taggers at Lucky Boy Ranch witnessed a steady drift of the regal creatures this weekend.  Our tagging strategy took a turn from years past, as the Monarchs would ONLY nectar on the pink milkweed on the riverbank, rejecting the ample white milkweed where we usually net them like fish in a barrel. 

As a result, we juggled swinging our nets with paddling kayaks–no easy task.

By Sunday we nabbed 22 Monarchs, not bad for so early in the season.  Now:  only 977 to go.

One disturbing site was Monarch Murder in the Chigger Islands. 

We observed several desembodied Monarchs, their royal orange wings draping pink milkweed along the riverbank.  The butterfly serial killer, pictured above, was identified as an Orb Weaver spider. 

As the photo depicts, the savvy spider weaves its silk around the alluring pink milkweed.  When the Monarchs light the flower to nectar, the spider seizes them, draining their life like a Lucky Boy margarita.

Nature is cruel, but then, spiders have to eat–or is it drink?– too.

Special thanks to Naomi, Lisa Marie and Tim for being such troopers and helping me kick off the season. 

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