Aerial Sex

Two Monarch butterflies mating
Two Monarch butterflies mating

Of course Monarch butterflies mate in the air. I just had never seen it before. These two flew just above our heads while we were playing horseshoes in the front of the house. It looks like one does all the flapping and the other goes along for the ride. They landed in our pine tree which is being decimated by the gypsy moths who are currently in their caterpillar stage.

The caterpillars are eating the leaves on most of the trees in our canopy and their droppings, about the size of a BB, cover every surface. According to the neighbors the gypsy moths were last this bad in the eighties. We are surrounded by oaks and they love those. The distinctive red and white oak leaves look completely different this year. There are huge holes in them and only half half of each leaf is still hanging on. I picture the caterpillars on the end of the leaves eating the leaf they are on and then falling to the ground with the leaf piece just like in the cartoons.

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