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This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #57337

    phyllosaurus
    Participant

    Hello NZ!
    Glad i found you online. I have ventured to take in around 20 Monarch caterpillars and eggs and protect them through the rest of their summer journey. Very sad to say that this morning, two chrysalis which were looking really good yesterday, appear black. Sigh. I do rinse and dry the leaves which I feed them. Any advice? They are behind a net in my bookcase which has an LED day light, and which is not kept on all the time.

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  • #57376

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Phyllis

    she was all abdomen and no wings (very underdeveloped)

    Just to clarify, its wings will have been there, but they are folded up (like a parachute is before deploying) and as the butterfly emerges (ecloses) it then pumps all the fluid in its abdomen into the wings… which set hard over the next hour or so.

    Things are “springing up” here in NZ. We are getting eggs laid here in Auckland – the monarchs overwinter locally – so fingers crossed it will be a good season for monarchs.

    #57365

    phyllosaurus
    Participant

    No problem at all! Thank-you for the reply. I sent a photo to a conservatory in the area, and they felt that yes, it was not well. I helped her out gently, but she was all abdomen and no wings (very underdeveloped) with impaired back leg and proboscis movement. Nonetheless, she spent her short life in the sunshine to which she perked right up and sat as upright as she could. When she didn’t expire on her own but was getting weaker, I wrapped her in milkweed leaves, then helped her on her way in the freezer. I figured it was OE. I’ve had two other chrysalis failures, one because I tried to relocate it and in my overhanding, probably sealed its doom. Also two or three caterpillar (early stages) die. I now have one chrysalis with a black spot on it and am hoping that they are not all going to be infected with NPV or something. Otherwise all looking healthy. Hope all is well in beautiful New Zealand!

    #57364

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Phyllis

    Sorry, I’ve been busy (putting together our SPRING magazine) and haven’t checked the forum for a few days.

    It usually takes a monarch less than a few minutes to eclose – go from in the chrysalis to completely outside the chrysalis – then over the next 20-30 minutes they gradually expand their wings. On occasion they get stuck, too weak to emerge from the chrysalis and they are doomed. Even if you help it out it may still be too weak to expand its wings fully. I’m afraid that’s part of life… not every monarch will become a beautiful butterfly.

    Celebrate the successes!

    Jacqui

    #57358

    phyllosaurus
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui:

    Now i have a “partially emerged” Chrysalis. It’s been hanging looking ready for four or five days, and should have been emerged probably three days ago. I have lightly tickled it with a tiny paintbrush, and gently blown on it to see if it would help. This morning it is cracked open, and after supporting it with my finger while it hung, she partially emerged. But her wings and bum are still in the chrysalis and I’m not sure what to do. Perhaps she is only properly formed? I supported her weight with a vase of fresh phlox. Any advice?
    Phyllis

    #57347

    phyllosaurus
    Participant

    Thanks so much Jacqui! Number four released yesterday. All of them took off high and strong in the lovely sunshine! So exhilarating! I have about 14 Chrysalis left, a couple I think, won’t make it. But such is nature. I will definitely help them again next summer. Have you read the paper about Monarchs reared at farms (presumably more than one generation) losing their migration instinct? The researchers thus far, think that wild caught caterpillars and eggs released the same season should be okay, but they need more research. I think next year I will get tags. Sure hope to see your beautiful country one day!
    Canuck in the Great White North,
    Phyllis

    #57340

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    So many people get involved with trying to feed them but they don’t need feeding for about the first 24 hours. They will know when they want to feed. It comes naturally to them and of course it’s only after they’ve found their wings and can fly around looking for flowers that they NEED to feed.

    So leave them to it. As soon as they’re showing signs of fluttering then let them go outdoors. If the weather is REALLY, REALLY bad outside – reasonable rain and wind is okay – then keep them indoors but put them somewhere DARK and COOL which gives them an indication it’s not a good time to be flying around. They will hang onto the inside of a cardboard box or something.

    Over the years humans have become far too “helpful” or controlling and get far too involved in the welfare (?) of these creatures, and half the time we stuff it up for them! They were managing for millions of years without our help…

    #57339

    phyllosaurus
    Participant

    Huzzah! They totally opened and now I have THREE beauties! I managed to film the third opening and spent the whole day in my basement in my jammies waiting! LOL!
    I also cannot find a definitive answer as to how long they should feed before release? And should I encourage them to feed by gently (with a tiny paint brush I use for oil painting), teasing out the proboscis? I have placed fresh phlox flowers, liatris, sugar water soaked paper towel on a saucer and orange slices in the netting with them.

    #57338

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    How old are the pupae? Have you ever seen a chrysalis the day before the butterfly emerges? Here’s how it happens…

    So you can see the chrysalis is quite black beforehand.

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