Christchurch – what's happening?

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  • #15293

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    A friend on the north side of Christchurch (Redwood) tells me that Monarchs are still laying eggs in her garden.

    Is this typical for Christchurch this year? Have you seen Monarchs mating or egglaying? Got any larvae – and if so, what size?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #30479

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Sue

    It certainly has been a strange season! I am up north at present (Far North) and have never known it to be so cold up here. If it’s not raining and blowing, then it’s bright sunshine but with the same icy wind. Have only seen a few Monarchs flying about – and yet there are eggs on some swan plants!

    Then yesterday saw several small clusters at Tauranga Bay – but not a huge amount, about 50 in total I guess.

    #30477

    cosmos
    Participant

    I am in Christchurch and had no caterpillars until April/May and then only four. I brought each caterpillar indoors as soon as I noticed them leaving the swan plant as we had cold weather and rain off and on. I eventually released three beautiful big butterflys. I didn’t really expect the last very late chrysalis to survive the up and down temps in my lounge – sometimes down to 9deg overnight but it has started to darken and I can see the butterfly inside. Here’s hoping for a warm day for releasing tomorrow.
    I noticed very few Admirals about over the summer and little sign of their caterpillars on the nettles.

    #30451

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Wow, Mary, that is most unusual. I’m pleased that you could accommodate the pupae at least.

    Jacqui

    #30450

    MaryL
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui, it is unusual for Monarchs to still be laying here at this time of year. Sharon next door to me (New Brighton CH CH) had Monarchs laying Mon 4th June, she said there was about 100 eggs on her plants, and still some cats ready to turn, they certainly will not now as today it is snowing and minus 1 at lunch time , bitterly cold. She had given me about 50 Pupae to put in my indoor castle so fingers crossed for them. She also still had Larvae from 2nd instar up to Pupae stage on her plants

    #30421

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    We were down Christchurch for a month (Feb/March) and we had reports from people in various parts of Canterbury who said it had been a bad season – and others who had had lots of Monarchs. But this seems to be typical for all over the country. And now some of us are having eggs laid even today, the first day of Winter (Auckland).

    The vagaries of Nature. One thing you can say about Nature – it is definitely unpredictable!

    #30420

    Romy Forrer
    Participant

    I’ve hardly seen any monarchs here at all this whole year, and i have a big buddlia bush next door. I even had to kidnap some caterpillars off a friend for my swan plants. I wonder if the earthquakes have scared them all off.

    #30414

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Not that we know of, Romy. We haven’t had any reports at all. 🙁

    #30413

    Romy Forrer
    Participant

    An update on my Chrysalis. Your suggestions worked a treat Norm and Kenny the very healthy-looking monarch butterfly emerged last week. he was released on a sunny afternoon – survived one frosty night outside in his terrarium, and then I assume he flew away to find overwintering trees somewhere (as he was gone from his terrarium by lunchtime).

    Has anyone seen any monarch overwintering sites in Christchurch this winter?

    #30355

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Franby

    How do you mean “does anybody care?”

    Of course we “care” – that’s why we are here. You have to understand that if every Monarch caterpillar and/or chrysalis made it to adulthood there would be a plague of Monarchs – perhaps they would become NZ’s second enemy after possums.

    These late caterpillars may well make it through to adulthood without our help. There are overwintering places in Christchurch, so if the adults emerge and are strong and healthy then they will probably fly away at the peak of the day when it’s warm – when you are at work. They need warmth from the sun to fly – and it IS warm enough, even in patches, in the early afternoon. They do not necessarily require our intervention.

    The weak ones will not survive and that is what Nature is all about. If a Monarch lays 300 eggs, then only two need to make it through to adulthood to continue the species. So it will probably be the two strongest specimens that make it.

    This has been discussed many times in the forum. Of every species, some are destined to become food for other animals – or even plants by becoming an ingredient in humus, the mulch-like layer that sits on top of the soil.

    So, yes, we do care.

    #30354

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    There are now 10 caterpillars … does anybody care?!

    #30343

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Romy, this time of year it is not normally necessary to mist, but it depends how dry the terrarium is. If you do mist you must stop misting when the pupa starts to change colour as at this stage the pupal skin loses its waterproofing and excess moisture can cause the butterfly to stick it the pupal case when trying to emerge.

    #30342

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Have to say finding my way back to this website via wordpress took some doing! Aarghh!

    However, having had nothing on our swan plant all summer, I now find we have 7 healthy caterpillars and one cocoon – HELP! Surely they’re not going to survive a frost?! Should I be trying to dig up the plant and bring them inside? Or are there any keen ChCh locals who could take them? Just seems sad that it’s so late in the year and these guys are suddenly going strong.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    #30341

    Romy Forrer
    Participant

    Thanks Norm, appreciate your advice. I have taken the chrysalis to work where it is warm and dry. On closer measurement it is 2cm long but still not very wide/broad. I guess all I can do is hope it makes it.

    Do you think it’s a good idea to mist the chrysalis or terrarium every day or so? I have read that some people do this.

    #30338

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Romy, the ideal conditions for a chrysalis is warm and dry. However they able to withstand the occasional low temperatures, so as long as it does not get down to zero it should be alright inside. Perhaps in the H.W. cupboard for the night would be good but not close to the cylinder, and in the lounge during the day, in a sunny spot if possible. Being such a small chrysalis may mean it is not a healthy one so if it does not make it through successfully then it is nature taking its course and you have done all you can.

    #30333

    Romy Forrer
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui.
    I’m in Christchurch and my last caterpillar just made a chrysalis. He hung about outside trying to find a place to pupate (but not covering much distance) for about 3 days, before I brought him in thinking he was probably too cold out there. He took a couple of days in the j-hook until I turned the heat up and he finally shed his skin. The chrysalis is tiny (about 1.5cm in height) as there wasn’t much left of poor Kenny by that stage.

    I’m concerned as my flat is cold during the day (still warmer than outside but only just). I’ve been putting him in the hotwater cupboard at night but wasn’t sure if he needed light during the day, so he is in my unheated lounge during the day.

    I’m wondering if I should take the chrysalis to work where it is much warmer but am unsure if it would be too dry (it is also lit until 9pm each night). I’ve been trying to google the best way to care for a chrysalis but haven’t had much luck (hence this post). Would appreciate any advice.

    Concerned newbie – Romy

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