A well-known butterfly researcher is watching a fascinating experiment unfold in outer space.
Chip Taylor knows just about everything about monarch butterflies, but he didn’t know whether they would be able to emerge from their chrysalises in a weightless environment.
Only one way to find out.
This week, Taylor, a Kansas University professor, was watching from Lawrence as monarchs cast off their chrysalises as part of an experiment on the International Space Station. The butterflies, which got their start as caterpillars at KU, were struggling a little but eventually were able to adapt, shed their shells and spread their wings.
Taylor is more or less Mr. Monarch. He shares his knowledge of the showy butterfly with anyone who’s interested and is widely recognized as an expert on monarch behavior. Watching the monarch video from outer space this week at www.monarchwatch.org/space, it was easy to understand his fascination.