late caterpillars

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #48211

    monkey
    Participant

    There are a few late, but quite large, caterpillars on my swan plants. Should I bring them in or just leave them to their fate? If they do manage to make it through to the butterfly stage, what would I do with the butterflies? It is starting to get quite cold now, in Hamilton, after a very long season. I note that there are still quite a few butterflies around when the sun is out, & have even seen eggs on the swan plants, but this Indian Summer won’t last

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  • #48600

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    In six months – maybe more or less – the data we have in our minds now will be fuzzy, but if we have recorded it in the database it’s there as a permanent record. Could you please record any sightings of what butterflies 9caterpillars, pupae, and even egg-laying) in to the database?

    It would be great if you can help. the more reports, the better.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/projects/report-a-sighting/

    #48588

    monkey
    Participant

    The last of my late caterpillars hatched a few days ago, & I released it while there were a few hours of wintry sun. After a couple of hours I looked for it, & it had gone, so I hope it made it. I have seen several Monarchs flying around in our area & wonder if they were my babies. I think since May I have released about 10.

    #48340

    Jackie C
    Participant

    Hi from the Kapiti Coast. I also have very late caterpillars this year – about 15 of them. I’ve brought them into a conservatory and so far they are doing well. It’s incredible to have them still so late in the year.

    #48338

    monkey
    Participant

    I have had 3 healthy ‘late’ butterflies hatch over the last few days; fortunately they have hatched on reasonable days so they have flown after a few hours in the weak sunlight.
    All the late cats & chrysalides have taken a very longtime to get through each stage despite my best attention.

    Today one of the Js turned into a bright yellow chrysalis; has anyone seen this colour before?

    Is it a sub-species or just a result of being so late in the season? Some of the cats are very black, I can’t decide if this is just because they tend to be skinny from taking so long to develop. Maybe it’s an optical illusion making their stripes not so bold because of their thinness. Any ideas anyone?

    #48332

    KylieF
    Participant

    HI Jacqui,
    I am not sure if you remember but I brought 50 swan plants off you earlier in the year. The are in a semi8 sheltered alleyway and are very big. I noticed a few days ago I have possibly 50 large caterpillars. Lots of leaves and food and reasonable sheltered but very cold over night. Too many really to bring inside our small house. What are the chances they will make it? Should I bring some inside just before they would change or do it now? I would hate to loose them.

    #48306

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Monkey – yes, thank you I did. Much appreciated!

    Jacqui

    #48305

    monkey
    Participant

    I brought in some large late caterpillars & housed them in an upturned plastic peg basket. I moved them around inside the house to take advantage of all the sun coming through the windows, & stood the basket on tinfoil to reflect the light. (I wouldn’t do this in summer as it would probably cook them). I also gave them plenty of fresh leaves each day. I now have 12 chrysalides. It will be interesting to see if they progress to butterflies, as their progress to this stage has been relatively slow.

    Jacqui, did you eventually get the large packet of swan plant seeds which I sent to the wrong address (Russell)?

    Monkey

    #48304

    EddieCG
    Participant

    Because of the nice weather after all the rain, decided to tidy my garden. That included finding homes for the swan plants which have recovered from giving birth to 17 butterflies in the summer. To my amazement, I found 13 large caterpillars! One plant is nearly stripped – shows how slack I have been in my (temporary) garden! So, out comes the jumbo castle again, for one plant. Two more plants have been moved to bigger containers, to go with me when we move to our permanent home. Four caterpillars were rehomed to a plant I had already transplanted to this garden, though it is in the winter shade. What are their chances, given it is cold at night at the moment? My husband says let nature take its course! But, midwinter and caterpillars!!

    #48268

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    You don’t need to feed monarchs when they emerge from their chrysalis. If the weather is undesirable outside, then keep them somewhere dark and cool and they will sense that the weather is not favourable. They can wait for at least a week without feeding – but if you keep them somewhere light and bright (i.e. like summer) then they are going to want to fly about and feed and mate and lay eggs. So it’s a no-brainer, I think. Wrong to give them the “it’s summer” message and then a few days later, put them outdoors where they meet a nice or not-unpleasant winter’s day.

    #48258

    PurpleCat
    Participant

    Just read Jacqui’s post in ‘latecomers’ which gives helpful information. Hopefully there will be some better weather when butterflies emerge.

    #48257

    PurpleCat
    Participant

    I am in the same situation some cats of various sizes outside and I have a few chrysalis inside, weather has turned to winter here. Is it a good idea to give the butterflies a bit of sugar water before releasing them or do they need to adjust to hibernation straight away.

    #48215

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Monkey

    The more daylight (day length) and warmth you can give them, the more likely they are to survive. It depends how much energy you want to put into it. If they did make it through to become butterflies, I hope that you would just release them somewhere where there is maximum sun and shelter, so that they could adjust to whatever conditions (temperature etc) are on offer.

    Hope that helps!

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