Caterpillers eating Monarchs wings

This topic contains 9 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  NormTwigge 8 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #14865

    I_Am_Artemis
    Participant

    HI, we have about 10+ chrysalis left to hatch, but we have noticed two poor monarchs have had their wings eaten off by green caterpillars! We have also have had two hatch with crumpled wings (one died, one is still outside).

    How can we help those to come survive the winter (we are concerned with them hatching into the cold and wet of Wellington?

    One has survived the caterpillar munching on its wing, but we are wondering if it is best to put it down, like the others? It was pouring with rain, so he is inside atm.

    We are also finding perfect looking monarchs dead, are they starving? We know it is nature, but are trying to hard to give them the best start possible.

    We have had over 30 hatch so far, but our huge swan plant has pretty much died.

    Just want to know if there is anything we can do to help those that are left and to save them from the green caterpillars and the weather. Is inside an option until they hatch? Or somewhere to send them?

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #27679

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    I would concur with Jacqui that it is highly unlikely that caterpillars would eat the wings of butterflies, but I have have had experience with slugs and snails eating their wings, and the slime trail across the butterflies wing was a sure giveaway.

    #27678

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I have never heard of caterpillars eating butterflies’ wings. I would suspect slugs, but not caterpillars… I guess I would try and get photos of whatever they are, and especially if you could raise them through the different life stages and then see what evolves…

    You would probably be better to euthanase the crippled ones.

    #27677

    I_Am_Artemis
    Participant

    Cool, but does anyone know what we can do about the caterpillars eating the butterflies wings?

    We just put the crippled butterflies inside so they can die in peace and not in the miserable wet 🙂

    #27664

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    It’s an ongoing learning experience, eh?

    #27662

    hereisme
    Participant

    Thank you jacqui. It has been living on our deck so has some shelter where the edge of the roof hangs over and the other plants nearby should keep some of the wind off it.

    I was lucky enough to get to see it turn into a chrysalis, something I had never seen before. I didn’t even know they shed their skin to get to that stage!!

    #27650

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I hope so too, Hereisme! If you can keep it protected from the wet and the wind it will have more chance at success.

    #27648

    hereisme
    Participant

    I have just watched our lone caterpillar finally turn into a cocoon but we also live near Windy Wellington. I hope it makes it through the next few weeks to hatch out.
    It will be our first monarch

    #27610

    Darren
    Participant

    Sadly Andrea it is officially winter next week and a Wellington winter is not a good environment for a monarch butterfly. If you want a tropical butterfly house there is one for sale in Thames, but even they shut down for a few months over winter. I think we just have to accept that this is a seasonal hobby. Snuggle up by the heater with some seed catalogues and start planning for spring.

    #27609

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi there

    To “help” the Monarchs survive the winter, remove the WET and WIND from their “environment” but (in my humble opinion) don’t try and replicate summer conditions, i.e. don’t put them in the warmth or too bright light.

    In answering other posts, Norm says it all: “I think that sometimes we humans interfere too much in nature, after all butterflies have been around for thousands of years and have managed admirably. Nursing less than healthy butterflies to release where nature may well have seen their demise is not necessarily doing any favours, as the said butterfly will probably mate and could well be propagating offspring that are genetically inferior. Oe is a good example of this.”

    “Nature has a way of ensuring ‘survival of the fittest’. It is human ‘civilisation’ that has caused extinction of various species throughout the world, and while I support efforts to preserve butterfly populations, indeed I breed them, my opinion is that if a butterfly is less than healthy let nature take its course.”

    Hope that helps.

    Jacqui

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