Friday, September 1, 2017

"A Pictorial Guide to the Monarch Butterfly Migration over the Southernmost Blue Ridge Parkway" is REALLY ALMOST HERE!

click to enlarge
I bet you've never seen a monarch butterfly larva like this.  Nor has anyone else. It's a caterpillar of the Io Moth (Automeris io) that I found munching away yesterday in my corn patch.  Like the saddleback larvae, this guy bears toxic, painful, stinging spikes. He's about 2.5 inches long.  

The monarch book is still "in production", meaning that I had a three day delay in completion this week due to a strange "corruption" in one of my photographs. It took that long to get a specific diagnosis. I fixed the problem on Wednesday, 8-30, and had printed proofs by this afternoon, a Friday.  But the proofs weren't perfect.  In fact I had forgotten to submit the updated file of the cover, and as always I found some things in the interior that needed fixing or improving.  The short of it is, I missed my self-imposed September 1 publishing deadline.  It takes 24 hours for the printer to review the new files. Now I have to decide if I take a chance and publish tomorrow without having had eyes on a real final, final book.  It might be just fine.  Otherwise it will take another two or three days to get another proof in hand.  I have press releases ready.  A few vendors may be ready to order.  For now I'll get the book's web page set up at  The migration is still a week or two away from North Carolina, so the book won't be late.  The peak should be here the last week of September, so we are still in good shape.

Great news: A U.S. Park Service Interpretive Ranger has offered to help me at my book table at the NC Arboretum's Monarch Day on Saturday, September 23, if she is free that day.  That will be fun.  She's been doing educational presentations on the monarch for about two years now.

Here's a profile our handsome fellow:

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