Yellow Admiral pupa time

This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  scootercat 3 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #48112

    Barry
    Participant

    Hi all from warm calm May in Christchurch.
    I have had Yellow Admiral pupa / Chrysalis hanging for over 5-weeks.
    14days is typical;, from various documents, but a pupa setting about 8th April should be emerged before 35 days?
    Perhaps it is the unseasonal temperatures – neither to cold to stop the process early, yet not warm enough to allow completion of metamorphosis?

    Has anyone got so good ideas on what to expect, time wise? Will the dozen or so pupa I have hanging around emerge at all?, soon? or in the spring?

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #48341

    scootercat
    Participant

    I have observed (in Dunedin) both Monarch and Admiral caterpillars in “J” with the wasps on them, and the poor caterpillar twitching and writhing as if being tortured. I imagined that was when the wasp was injecting her eggs into it. These were ones that were either too high or I had missed before they hooked themselves up. I noticed the wasps didn’t attack caterpillars still feeding, only as they were preparing to pupate and while the chrysalis was still soft. I knew once I had seen wasps on the caterpillar or chrysalis it was too late to do anything about it. Those eventually went black, then dry and hollow.

    #48339

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Butternut, the Pteromalus wasps don’t lay the eggs inside the “J” caterpillar, but wait until it has shed its skin and pupates, while it is still soft. Once the pupa hardens the wasp has no interest in it.

    #48336

    Butternut
    Participant

    Norm – do they lay their eggs on the caterpillar while it is still in it’s ‘J’ and before the chrysalis hardens or can they lay eggs through a hard chrysalis?

    #48297

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Great to hear, Wendy! I came home to discover HUNDREDS (yes, literally) tents on my nettles so the admirals must have been at work. I have to go away again soon so not sure how they’ll get on. Fingers crossed that a good number will make it.

    Jacqui

    #48296

    Weimom
    Participant

    Just a quick update. I have 4 pupae and another 5 that are in Js or about to. It seems to take them much longer from the time they climb up to the top of the mosquito net until they finally pupate. No doubt this is because of the cooler temps. They are all in the garage which is reasonably warm so it will be interesting to see if they wait until spring to hatch. Wendy

    #48213

    Weimom
    Participant

    Hi Norm
    I am hoping I have avoided the parasite wasp, but that is very good info & I will keep watch. It sounds disgusting! These poor butterflies really are fighting a lot of predators! Paper wasps and Praying Mantis are the most prolific parasites here, but at this time of year they have pretty much disappeared. Not sure about that parasitic wasp though. Thanks for the info, I will read up on it. Wendy

    #48212

    Weimom
    Participant

    Hi Barry
    Thanks for your reply & info. I am in Cambridge. We have been having a vey warm late autumn! As we are inland, the winter can get quite cold, frosts /fog etc. I am hoping the cats will get to the pupa stage before it gets really cold & then hatch in early spring. As you say, we can do our best but it is up to nature whether they make it or not. I will let you know how they get on. Wendy

    #48208

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Barry, your reference to the small “flies” on the caterpillar as it pupates are indeed the wasp I was referring to, so you have infestation. If you google Pteromalus puparum it will give you details.

    #48207

    Barry
    Participant

    Thanks, Norm
    I can’t say that I have not seen any wasps, except for some small ‘flies?’ on the cat as it pupates. May 2016 in Christchurch has not been a month of wasp sightings. A few Honey bees and the odd Bumble B.
    I know one particular pupa I filmed forming and it is ‘distorted’. The others are all brown. Do you mean ‘Rusty’ as in reddish?
    I am not sure I can inspect a chrysalis that closely without causing some disturbance to its ‘state’ or condition. A couple are in the middle of a nettle patch, but I do not wish to change their environment. I’m not sure I want to protect the patch even if it snows. Perhaps frost-cloth … {BEP Chch.}.

    #48206

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Yellow admiral pupae can be quite heavily parasitised by an ant sized wasp Pteromalus puparum, which was introduced in the 1930’s to try and help control the Cabbage White butterfly. While I have had pupae take 42 days to mature in winter, there is a limit. Inspect you pupae’s colouring, if it looks a rusty brown colour it is possibly infected, also look for one or two small holes in the casing, this will be where the emerging wasps have exited. If any pupae with holes are found dispose of them immediately as there may be still more wasps to emerge. More than 100 wasps can emerge from one pupa, these will mate as soon as they exit and then infect other pupae. Admirals generally overwinter as larvae rather than pupae.

    #48205

    Barry
    Participant

    Hi Wendy.
    I missed your point that it is Cats you have, not pupa.

    My advice is to keep fresh nettles up to them. As long as they are feeding and warm, they should mature. When timing is another factor of course not in our control.
    As I said in my prior post, there is not a lot of specific data – all generalised for favourable conditions. One commentary indicated the Vanessa Itea winter over as either Caterpillars or Butterflies. So here in Christchurch, with its currently warm late Autumn May I will be watching closely as I still have cats and pupa. I have a small patch of large nettles in the middle of my vege garden. So I just need to watch what the natural outcomes are.
    Cheers. Barry P.

    #48204

    Barry
    Participant

    Hi Wendy.
    There is not much else one can do while the chrysalis exists.
    It is probably worth noting daily high & low temperatures and count the days till the butterfly emerges.
    There is not a lot of specific data – all generalised for favourable conditions.
    One commentary indicated the Vanessa Itea winter over as either Caterpillars or Butterflies. There was no mention of the overwinter state of the pupa. So here in Christchurch, with its currently warm late Autumn May, I have more pupa now than during the summer, just as you say. They are in just wherever place they want to be – Five in shelter in a Caterpillar castle, in the middle of the garden on a nettle, five hanging on the western side of the garage. I will simply note the ‘Nature’ of them.

    You do not tell of your location, but you do say ‘survive the winter’, so how far south are you? Do not fret about their survival – they either will or will not as their individual circumstance has determined. You have a good range of environment, so noting the temperature & daylight is most relevant. Such creatures have a natural instinct for survival so the idea of husbandry is probably more of negative than positive influence on overall numbers while a few might benefit from human intervention.

    I have had monarchs emerging this week – the middle of Christchurch May!

    Cheers. Barry P.

    #48203

    Weimom
    Participant

    I had no luck with Yellow Admirals over the summer, but had one? female Yellow Admiral visiting my nettles every day in early April. I now have 15+ cats. Some are on plants in the garage. Most are on plants in a very sheltered area on my deck, underneath a mosquito net. I am hoping they will survive the winter. The weather has been so mild so far. Any advice appreciated. Wendy

    #48115

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Pupae duration is more dependant on temperature rather than time, so it will depend whether your pupae are outside or inside. If outside they are prone to parasitoid infection also.

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