My sister has four sons.  My brother has three.  And I have two.  None of us had girls.  Even the caterpillars I bring into our home seem to follow the pattern.  For two years now, we’ve reared monarch caterpillars and both years the end result was a beautiful male monarch butterfly.  (It’s easy to tell male and female monarch butterflies apart.  The males have two dark dots on their hind wings that the females do not.)

I did some searching to see if there were any differences between boy and girl monarch caterpillars.  It seems there isn’t.  The only way to tell what gender they are is to dissect them.  There is a difference between the genders in terms of the pupa stage though.  This is what a female chrysalis looks like:

female pupa id

This is what a male chrysalis looks like:

gender id monarch male point

(Pictures from, an informative site written in ordinary vernacular for less scientifically inclined people like myself.)

Danaus, my caterpillar, looked like this in the morning:


The next time I looked I saw this:


I looked carefully for that indentation but I’m not seeing it.  I am concluding therefore that the male trend in the family is continuing.  I should know in twelve to fourteen days for sure.  For now, that pretty emerald chrysalis with its threading of gold is hanging safely on a bulletin board in P’s room.