Caterpillars not eating?

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    Topic
  • #59298

    supersammy1776
    Participant

    How much time do monarch caterpillars spend eating during the day versus doing nothing? I have 2 monarch caterpillars that are at 2-3 instars. One has not moved from the wall of the container for ~5 hours, and the other ate few bites off one leaf but has now stopped as well.
    I have provided 2 kinds of milkweed–in both leaf and cuttings form in their container.

    Is this normal? If not, any tips on getting them to eat? This is my first time raising monarch caterpillars so any perspectives will be really helpful

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  • #59318

    supersammy1776
    Participant

    Thank you for your help Jacqui!! They are doing much better / acting how I would expect them to. Really excited to see the rest of the process 🙂

    #59316

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi SuperSammy – the black dot sounds like the face cap.

    Yes, in my experience they will be reluctant to change from one species of milkweed to another, as the toxins (cardenolides) in each leaf can be different. Keep the plants well watered as this can reduce the toxicity.

    Cheers

    Jacqui

    #59310

    supersammy1776
    Participant

    Thank you Jacqui! I think perhaps the one against the wall was molting–there was a tiny black dot under it that didn’t look like frass, and possibly resembled a discarded face (don’t know how to word that!). I still haven’t personally witnessed this one eating, but it’s at least moving and producing frass.

    The other one is doing much better and eating now 🙂

    Do they only eat the milkweed variety they were born on? They were born on Antelope-horns Milkweed (Asclepias asperula) and seem to only consume those leaves, and ignore the Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) I provided.

    #59300

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    When they are shedding their skin they can remain motionless for up to 24 hours.

    If you are in NZ, then it is over 12 hours since you posted your message. What’s the situation now?

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