When I was a kid in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I collected a bunch of monarch caterpillars and enough milkweed to sustain them in a jar until they formed their chrysalises and hatch into butterflies. When you are 8, that is a pretty damn cool experience. Browsing around, I’ve noticed there are some pretty beautiful pictures of these butterflies on flickr. Check out this picture of a chrysalis.

One of the more interesting mysteries surrounding monarch butterflies is that they return to the same overwinter migratory spots during periods that span multiple generations, and we still don’t have any idea how. Fascinating stuff. Sadly, the the wikipedia entry notes that their overwinter grounds have been devastated by deforestation and that this has impacted the monarch population as of late, leading some to move to get them placed on an endangered list of some sort. Although, my friend assures me that their population’s heartiness can be verified after inspecting the grill of his car after a drive up I-5. Poor things.