Butterfly season not yet finished

This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  NormTwigge 6 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #34374

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Today at mid-day saw a reasonably fresh Monarch laying eggs on my milkweeds, and with the temperature recorded at 24 degrees it seemed to suit her nicely.  However the caterpillars will not get far in their development before the coming cold spells will put a halt to it all.  Which made me ponder that it is more likely that colder temperatures are more of a trigger to diapause than lessening daylight hours.

    A short time later I noticed a Red Admiral cruising around my shade house, probably attracted by the nettles in there, so a hasty trip to the garage to grab my ever ready net resulted in its capture and release into the butterfly house.  It proved to be a fresh female so given a day or two to settle down I am hopeful of some eggs, but in the unlikely event it has not yet mated there is a male Red Admiral ready and waiting in the there anyway.

    The Admiral larvae will develop quite well leading up to winter as they can withstand cold temperatures in larval and pupal stages, although the interior of the butterfly house can reach 30 degrees on a sunny day in winter, and the Yellow Admirals breed throughout the year quite happily in the enclosure.

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  • #34419

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Milkweed, unfortunately no I did not sight any Lesser Wanderers this season, despite keeping a vigilant watch.

    Just to set the record straight, the Lesser Wanderer has now been moved to species status rather than the  previous classification of a sub-species of chrysippus, after DNA research showed it to be a distinct species,  and is now known as Danaus petilia.  References prior to 2005 define it as Danaus chrysippus petilia, which adds to the confusion.

    #34415

    milkweed
    Participant

    Norm, did you get visited by Lesser Wanderer butterfly’s (Danaus chrysippus) this summer at all?

    #34413

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Yes, it looks like cold may be the trigger here (Waikato) too: I had Monarch eggs being laid on my remaining outside plants until about a week ago. With the colder weather, adults are still cruising, but seen nectaring not mating or ovipositing. There are still a few caterpillars on outside milkweed plants, so the couple of frosts we had were obviously not hard enough to kill either plants or larvae. Bruce Sanson has hundreds of caterpillars on his plants out at Templeview, about 10km away.

    Admirals are still laying eggs on my outside nettles, but most seem to be taken by praying mantises. I have a few pupae inside, probably Red Admirals (thanks Norm) and a few larvae and pupae on the nettles outside, probably Yellows. Haven’t seen many Admiral butterflies flying in my garden, but this may have to do with me being away a lot. Still lots of Little Blues flying and the occasional Cabbage White.

    #34411

    BlueSkyBee
    Participant

    All the Monarchs disappeared from here as soon as my milkweed was eaten off, now the plants have grown back quite well, and I have been 1/2 expecting to see the odd Monarch, but no, nothing… I’m starting to plant out my seedlings now, and hope to have a nice big area ready come springtime.

    My mum in Kerikeri has had Monarchs laying up until quite recently.

    #34412

    BlueSkyBee
    Participant

    All the Monarchs disappeared from here as soon as my milkweed was eaten off, now the plants have grown back quite well, and I have been 1/2 expecting to see the odd Monarch, but no, nothing… I’m starting to plant out my seedlings now, and hope to have a nice big area ready come springtime.

    My mum in Kerikeri has had Monarchs laying up until quite recently.

    #34407

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Joanna, because of the cold nights during winter, and I have no heating in the butterfly house, the Red Admiral adults tend to go into hibernation mode and hide away in a corner somewhere, possibly also prompted by the shorter daylight hours.  So as long as I have larvae to carry through the winter I don’t worry too much about the adults, whereas the Yellow Admirals just continue breeding throughout the year.

    #34405

    joanna
    Participant

    It’s good to read about the things others are observing at this time of year. Do any of the Red Admiral adults persist through the winter in your butterfly house Norm?

    #34400

    Jane
    Participant

    Utica incisa has died back for the winter in Palmerston North, after raising several generations of Admiral larvae.  The uritca urens is appreciating the cooler nights, and the thousands of seeds dropped in spring have produced a plethora of seedlings. Urtica ferox which sulked through the drought has again burst into life and supports a few tell-tale tents of Admiral larvae.

    This year I decided to leave the aphids on my milkweed to see if the biological factors would prevail and gain control over the aphids. Although many aphids were parasitised and at one point looking as though they would gain control,  sadly they could not deal with the numbers and the aphids were prevalent. Following the aphids, sooty mould took hold. I have lost many mature milkweed plants and have only a few unaffected plants. No signs of any monarch larvae here now, I think the nights may be getting too cold for them.

    Like Jacqui the praying mantis have had a field day here and now that the small trees are losing their leaves they cannot hide, and are scouting around for places to lay eggs.

    #34392

    Charlotte
    Participant

    I’ve collected fresh eggs that were laid on the weekend and brought them indoors to see if they do indeed hatch out. The caterpillars are growing along nicely in the butterfly house.

    I’ve not noticed any mating couples in the last week.

    #34376

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Interesting Norm!! I have fresh eggs on my milkweed here too. One of my tagged Monarchs was laying here yesterday. But many of the larvae are failing. Still plenty of praying mantises in the garden too. They get despatched whenever I see them.

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