My Monarch caterpillar is throwing up white fluid!

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  • #57359


    I’ve been raising monarchs for nearly a decade now, but I haven’t came across any of the caterpillars throwing up *white* liquid until now.

    About a week ago, one of my caterpillars (4th instar) quit eating. At first, I thought he was going to molt, but nothing changed after a couple of days.

    I kept giving him fresh leaves (he has always been separated from the other caterpillars that I am raising), but he never took a bite out of any of them. So, after about a week without eating, he became extremely weak — I was surprised he took that long to become weak (e.g., falling off his leaf, moving slowly).

    Now, throughout this time, he hasn’t been spitting up anything green, and the colour of his body hasn’t changed much at all (though, near the end of the week it was a lighter yellow). Also, no feces has been visible in his little cage for quite a while now.

    Currently, he is laying on his side throwing up white liquid. I looked up on the internet what could be wrong with him, but I haven’t seen anything about monarch caterpillars spitting up white fluid.

    I’m curious as to what he has gotten to make him so sick? Is it pesticides? What is the white liquid, exactly?

    Note: I feed him with fresh leaves every day; there is no moisture buildup in his cage; he is raised indoors; he has been separated from the other caterpillars since he was an egg; I spray the leaves daily with filtered water; only once has he been handled gently.

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  • #57363


    Hello McKswyk

    Sorry that you didn’t get an earlier response.

    It is a bit difficult to diagnose what would be wrong with your caterpillar, I’m afraid.

    Whereabouts are you? I guess you’re not in New Zealand?

    I imagine that your caterpillar did not survive but no doubt you looked around our forum for tags similar to yours (e.g. sick, dying, vomit etc) and you will read that a monarch butterfly will lay 250, or 300, or 500 – one even laid over a thousand eggs! And not every one of those is destined to become a butterfly. The diseases and predators etc need to survive too – it is them which keeps everything in Nature in balance. Not a “nice” thought, but a fact of life.

    Celebrate the successes!

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