Ramblings on terrible season for Monarchs

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    Has anyone else noticed the lack of butterflies this season? And as a concequence eggs and caterpillars? Usually by now I would have had over 600 chrysalises around the garden and in The Box, (an old Lizard cage I put large, ready to pupate caterpillars in and fed on pumpkin) Helps the plants recover and the butterflies are easier to tag!

    I have about 40 chrysalises out side on various plants, under gutterings, with about half on a mini standard rose, their site of choice. With only 17 caterpillars in The Box at this time of year when last year at the same time there were over 200 chrysalises. The season seems to have had a very slow start in Taranaki. Is this just my area or have others noticed ? Also my swan plants, self seeded did not germinate until late, actually not until I weeded and dug over the ground were the old plants had succumbed to a late frost. I then had a carpet of plants. I did have 10 stunted seedling plants that wintered over , these from seed carefully planted not self seeded.

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    Hi Morfydd. Singular is chrysalis or pupa, plural is chrysalides (or chrysalises) or pupae.

    Where do you live? I usually move pupae that are on swan plant leaves so the other caterpillars don't eat the leaf. Mine usually pupate in my butterfly house, so are protected. I've lost them before to hedgehogs and the praying mantis when they've been outside. And it depends on the weather too. Excessive heat, or excessive cold can cause problems.


    Morfydd Barker

    Hi, after talking to Jacqui I learn that some of you have been having a bad season. So sad. I hope we are not to blame! Two years ago I lost my chrysalis to a storm. Last year I ran out of food and the caterpillars ran off. This year I planted loads of swan plants, milkweed and butterfly mix in a sheltered spot and have been visited by several monarchs every day for a month. They have been laying eggs, i have lots of pillars and already three chrysalis hanging on swan plants. This has been a great year! It started with a very early visit in the Spring resulting in many caterpillars, who disappeared before I could locate the chrysalis. Maybe my chooks ate them. The late summer crop are doing a lot better and the pillars have been really fat.

    I have lots of swan plants still, so should I leave the chrysalis (what is the pural?) where they are or put them indoors?

    Good luck to everyone.



    Hi Pst,

    I had a very slow start to this season as well. Later than I can remember before, but the season is in full swing here (Palmerston North) now. There is a thread called 'Where are the Monarchs?' – take a look at that one. It seems that in most places around New Zealand the season was a slow starter so you're in lots of good company!

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