Monarchs

Until the week before camp, we could not find any Monarchs at all. We saw a few flying, but no caterpillars or eggs. Just before camp I had 5 Monarch caterpillars. When I got back I found 48 more!

Today I had three of my Monarchs emerged! All three of them are girls.

Right now I have

  • 3 Butterflies
  • 8 chrysalises
  • 50 Monarch caterpillars, all sizes and
  • 20 eggs

I hope to raise over 100 Monarchs this year!!! Three ButterfliesP.S.  Today I found 9 Eastern Black Swallowtail eggs and 5 Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars that are really little.  I hope we caught them before parasitic wasps did!

Winter Butterfly

ButterflyYesterday while I was playing outside in the snow, I tripped on this butterfly.  I ran inside and looked him up. He is a Winter Coconut butterfly. Three eggs are laid on a coconut flower.   The baby caterpillars then eat the inside of the immature coconut. They stay in groups of 3 caterpillars.  Once they are ready to emerge as butterflies they come out of one end of the coconut before the coconut gets to hard. Then they cover the holes with a mixture of saliva and webbing and the coconut shells grows over it forming three “eyes”.  The butterflies are really cool.

One Hundredth Butterfly!

I have raised over 100 butterflies this year!

100

I was able to release 88 Monarchs!  Most of the rest I have kept in my butterfly hospital.

I have learned a few new things.  I had to rescue one who’s chrysalis was stuck on her abdomen (it fell off the next day).

I got my first pair of Monarchs to mate. I collected the eggs and raised two generations.

I learned how to pin the dead ones.  That way I can use them to share with classes I teach.

I kept better records. For the record I have

  • if the egg was bleached
  • when the butterfly emerged
  • the butterflies name–mostly Bob this year–
  • if it was a boy or girl
  • if it had OE or not
  • and where I released the butterfly.

I hopefully will have 6 more monarchs. I could probably raise them for another month, but we hope to go on vacation soon, and I won’t be able to take care of them. I hope to find more when we got home. Wouldn’t it be so much fun to raise 200 in a year?

Looking Ahead

Boy
Looking at chrysalis under microscope
Girl
The black pointer is pointing at the line between the dots. The short line to the right of it shows this had a girl

You can tell on Monarchs if it is a boy or a girl while in it’s chrysalis.  You can tell on an Eastern Black Swallowtails too, but the chrysalis looks different and I don’t have pictures of that yet.

On the back side of the chrysalis, there is an indented line between the black dots.  If you look a little further down there are stripes underneath.  If you look really close–you have to have good eyes– there is a line by the stripes. If you see the line and it does not touch the stripes, it is a girl. It is much harder to to see the line touching for the boys, it looks like there is nothing there, unless they emerged and you have a microscope.

Caterpillars

Caterpillar
This is a birthday caterpillar and only shows up occasionally.

Right now I am raising a lot of Monarchs and one Eastern Black Swallowtail.  Twenty Eight of them are very easy-they are chrysalises.  The rest are eating a lot and I have to clean their cages at least twice, but sometimes three times a day.

Butterfly Hospital

HouseOn Friday, I got a butterfly cage at garage sale. It is really a play pen for pets.  I am using it for a butterfly hospital. I put in some milkweed and some salvia for them to eat.  I hope to add more plants later.

I am putting in my sick butterflies.  I can’t free them because they will spread the OE disease. They like to hurt themselves in the smaller cage. They will die happy because of all the room they have to fly around in and they are outside.

Megan and I like to sit inside and watch them.