Only eat one milkweed?

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  • #59311

    supersammy1776
    Participant

    Do monarch caterpillars only eat the milkweed variety they were born on? I have 2 (first time raising) that were born on Antelope-horns Milkweed (Asclepias asperula) and seem to only consume those leaves. They haven’t taken a bite out of the Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) I provided.

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  • #59322

    LeslieD
    Participant

    I’ve got a couple of tropical milkweeds (red flowers ) which i treasure as it took me years to grow some. Anyway the biggest and best was in my hothouse and was sporting a seed pod … It got raided by caterpillars from my other plants and the little sods scoffed the seed pod 🙁 along with a lot of the plant).
    I guess that plant had what it took to attract caterpillars. It had its own caterpillars as well.

    #59317

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello SuperSammy

    We don’t have the luxury of these varieties of milkweed in New Zealand. We only have A. curassavica (tropical milkweed) from N America, but the majority of our monarchs are raised on Gomphocarpus spp (from Africa) – probably 99.5% of them!

    In my experience caterpillars will be reluctant to change from one species of milkweed to another, as the toxins (cardenolides) in each leaf can be different. Keep the plants well watered as this can reduce the toxicity.

    Cheers

    Jacqui

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