The King is Dead

A freshly dispatched Monarch (Danaus plexippus).Cause of death unknown. But the head was missing.While we were surveying the corpse, a European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) showed up to browse in the facial cavity. These wasps chew up insect bits to feed their young. The mostly orange antenna of P. dominula are a good identification short cut. I made a short film of the wasp dragging the corpse. The next day the four wings of the butterfly were still there, but separated.

This Monarch, by the way, was a male. In the top photo, you can see the spot-like thickening of the ribs in the hindwing.

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If your brain isn’t eaten by wasps, you may want to take a look at this revelatory review of a new book about how economists and their plutocratic funders have used race since the Civil Rights era (and before, going back to Calhoun’s defense of property — i.e. slavery — above all against the forces of democracy).

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