Monarch Butterflies in Southland

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  • #15121


    Hi, I have recently moved to Invercargill and brought some Swan plan seeds with me. I have two mature plants growing but no signs of butterfly activity. Does anyone know if the the Monarch Butterfly lives this far south?

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  • #29593


    I have just had a request from Kay in Otatara for Monarch butterfly eggs or caterpillars because she has a large healthy swanplant and no caterpillars. I think it is probably getting a bit late in the season to raise them from eggs, but if anyone in Invercargill has too many caterpillars, and not enough hostplant, could you post a reply here and we will put you in touch with each other.



    Hi Lyndon – welcome to the friendly south! I live in Outram which is south-west of Mosgiel and when we shifted here just over a year ago I was amazed to see we had two swan plants growing outside! and was even more amazed when on Waitangi Day I saw a monarch on one of them. Lo and behold we then had caterpillars and eventually I released several monarchs. The swan plants seeded everywhere so now I have self-sown plants (not very big) and have sown some seed in pots. I haven’t seen any monarchs yet but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any, or maybe they are still coming. I have a cousin in Invercargill and she tells me the only monarchs she has seen there are the caterpillars you buy on a swan plant with no hope of reaching the next generation. I thought it would be too cold here as we do get severe frosts, but it can also get very hot in summer (like Central Otago). I would also be interested to know how far south monarchs are.



    Hello Lyndon

    They are seen there each summer but we don’t think they overwinter that far south. Meaning that any summertime Monarchs spread southwards as they go through their metamorphosis further north – and I suspect some people also bring in caterpillars or eggs from friends further north – or perhaps they even get plants with eggs/caterpillars and take them south.

    Hope that helps!


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