Tag Archives: Maggie Rosa

MONARCHS WEAPONIZE MILKWEED TOXINS

Monarch Caterpillars Common Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2012Milkweed Munching Monarchs

Although scientists have long known that the toxic sap that flows through milkweed veins, called cardenolides, can make a bird very sick if it attempts to eat a Monarch caterpillar, it was unclear whether the butterfly’s acquired adaption to the toxicity was a side effect that allowed the caterpillar to eat the milkweed or had developed separately as a defensive mechanism against predators. A Cornell University study recently published in Proceedings B of The Royal Society Publishing reveals that they have indeed evolved to weaponize milkweed toxins! Thank you so much to Maggie Rosa for sharing “The Scientist” article and you can read more about it here. 

“Monarch butterfly caterpillars have evolved the ability to store toxins known as cardenolides, obtained from their milkweed diet, specifically to make themselves poisonous to birds, as has at least one other species of milkweed-munching caterpillar, according to a study published Wednesday (November 4) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“This finding is fascinating and novel,” Stephen Malcolm, a professor at Western Michigan University who studies cardenolides but was not involved in the new research, wrote in an email to The Scientist. “It is exciting to have evidence for the importance of top-down influences from predators.” Continue Reading

Please join me Thursday evening, November 12th, at 7pm at the Sawyer Free Library for my illustrated talk, Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Meadow monarch caterpillar ©Kim Smith 2015Meadow Anderson and Milkweed Caterpillar

Simply Stunning Work in Progress

Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods

Juni and Maggie Rosa discuss design elements of the Eastern Point panel.

Yesterday I had the joy to meet Juni Van Dyke and several members of the Rose Baker Senior Center art class. Juni and her students are working on a project titled Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods. Each fabric panel measures approximately five-foot square and illustrates through iconic imagery characteristics unique to Gloucester neighborhoods. The banner’s design in it’s entirety, along with the individual artist’s whimsical designs and choice of fabrics, is utterly captivating and a vibrant visual feast.

Maggie’s extraordinary interpretation of the archetypical Beauport window. The window mullions frame a collection of antique glass in varying shades of lavender to deep grape.

This is not the first grand scale project of it’s kind created by Juni and the fiber artists at the Senior Center. The banner titled From Sea to Shining Sea: Celebration of the American Landscape that is currently on view at the Senior Center lunchroom was also exhibited at the Lexington Heritage Center for six months, and it measures nine feet in height by thirty feet in width.

Lois Stillman’s elegant rendition of the birch tree clump at Niles Pond

Eastern Point panel detail with Mother Ann and butterflies.

I am honored to have been invited to create a butterfly for the Eastern Point panel although I think they have it beautifully covered. The whimsical swirl of butterflies in the upper left corner was created by students at the Eastern Point Day School and the beautifully detailed Monarchs fluttering around Beauport by Maggie Rosa.

Lois stands in front of the panel she designed. Note her genius interpretation of the Abram Piatt Andrew Bridge, replete with cars (click photo to see larger version) and including Nichols Candy House. Her deep love of trees is apparent in the beautiful and skilled manner she has stitched and pieced many different species of trees created for the panels.

As the work on Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods unfolds we’ll bring you more stories and detailed photos about this vibrant and captivating work of art in progress–there are simply too many beautiful tales to tell in one post!

Juni and Priscilla ~ Sunlight streams through the large picture windows of the second floor art room at the Rose Baker Senior Center.

Pauline, Juni, and Maggie

Juni and Maggie