What are the black things on the leaf?

Asked September 11, 2018, 1:36 PM EDT

Can you tell me what the black things are on the leaf? They do not look like monarch butterfly eggs, but there are two caterpillars next to them. If they are eggs, is there a way to protect them so they will hatch? Is there a group that does this. Thanks

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Those look like the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly.
As you can see they have a tremendous appetite as they grow, and so they also leave a tremendous amount of... well, poop, which is what you are seeing on the leaf.

It looks like those hungry caterpillars will soon crawl off and make their chrysalis to complete their metamorphosis.