Tagging 2013 Season

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  • #32234


    Hi all

    Getting lots of inquiries about tagging this year here. Here’s a few answers!

    Firstly, most questions can be answered on this fact sheet here:


    We suggest printing that out (four pages) and putting it in a folder into which you can also store your tags when they arrive. Why not write on it your login name and password so that you always have that information available – you’d be surprised how many people forget their password and/or login name during the year.

    Please don’t request tags yet.

    We will send out an email AND post here on the forum when it is time to do so.

    It will be easier if we send the tags out all at once with practise tags, paperbutterflies and postcards (a new idea launched last year, so NOT covered on that sheet above) but explained below.


    People in NZ have been tagging Monarch butterflies for 7-8 years now. Last season there were many requests from schools for practise butterflies so that children could get the hang of tagging before they tried tagging on live butterflies.

    The glue on each season’s tags is only guaranteed for nine months but that should be enough for the life of a Monarch butterfly.

    Some taggers attached the tags/practise butterflies to postcards and then dropped them in people’s letterboxes in their neighbourhood, to alert the neighbours that they were tagging – and help them understand why and what to look out for. Some schools gave them to all school families and asked them to distribute them to their immediate neighbours as well.

    Some taggers dropped a postcard with tagged paper butterfly attached in to the editor of their neighbourhood newspaper and thus generated an interest in the media.

    These will all be available soon – when requesting tags (not yet!) please write in the COMMENTS section how many practise tags/paper butterflies/postcards you would like.

    Need any more questions answered? Please note them here so that when we answer, the answer is available for everyone.



Viewing 23 replies - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • Author
  • #58978


    Latest version of notes for tagging and transects


    Also, make sure you’re on the taggers map (thread found elsewhere).




    Congratulations! I  feel so much emotion when they are born and fly successfully and weep at their deaths!

    Where are you? I am in Wellington. That’s a great deal for swan plants? Which nursery did they come from?

    I just caught my first wild female battered butterfly without a net!




    Which Warehouse, Jules?



    Still shaking, still excited. Finally tagged my first Monarch. My plants were so decimated that I went to the warehouse over the weekend and purchased 5 more !! They are just sitting in the garden in pots and it is working !! Yippee.


    By the way, if you need more plants, the ones I purchased scanned up at 99c each !



    108 taggers that looks like, over the past 3 years say, how have the numbers of taggers changed?

    Thanks for the info on sightings, I’ve been looking at them just in the same place as the non tagged sightings, and have not come across the sighting maps, I’ll have to go see if I can find them.



    Geographic listing of our taggers to date:

    Taggers this year (as at 6 March) are:

    Whangarei 0110 (2)
    Russell 0202
    Waimate North 0293
    Waipapa,Kerikeri 0295
    Tangiteroria Northland 0381
    Coopers Beach 0420
    Peria Kaitaia 0482
    Titirangi 0604
    Te Atatu South 0610 (2)
    Henderson 0612 (2)
    Massey Auckland 0614 (2)
    Birkenhead 0630
    Rothesay Bay Auckland 0630
    Browns Bay Auckland 0630
    Torbay Auckland 0630
    Riverhead Auckland 0820
    Helensville 0875
    Ponsonby Auckland 1011
    Grey Lynn Auckland 1021
    Pt Chevalier Auckland 1022 (2)
    Royal Oak Auckland 1023
    Mt Albert Auckland 1025 (3)
    Mt Eden Auckland 1025 (2)
    Mt Roskill Auckland 1041
    Glendowie Auckland 1071
    East Tamaki Auckland 2013
    Pukekohe 2120
    Tuakau 2697
    Rotorua 3010 (2)
    Tauranga 3110 (3)
    Omokoroa 3114
    Greerton Tauranga 3112
    Opotiki 3162 (3)
    Kawerau 3169
    Te Puke 3187
    Hamilton 3200 (2)
    Whatawhata Hamilton 3285
    Taupo 3330
    Thames 3576
    Paeroa 3610
    Whangamata 3620
    Matiere Taumarunui 3995
    Tolaga Bay 4077
    Gisborne 4010
    Clive Napier 4102
    Napier 4110 (3)
    Waipukurau 4242 (2)
    New Plymouth 4310 (2)
    Inglewood Taranaki 4330
    Rangiwahia 4774
    Dannevirke 4930
    Belmont Wellington 5010
    Lower Hutt 5011
    Camborne Plimmerton 5026
    Raumati 5032
    Levin 5510
    Ohau Levin 5570
    Carterton 5713
    Masterton 5810
    Wellington 6022 (3)
    Nelson 7010 (4)
    Stoke Nelson 7011 (2)
    Richmond Nelson 7020
    Brightwater Nelson 7091 (2)
    Hampstead Ashburton 7700
    Hokitika 7810
    Timaru 7910 (2)
    Linwood Christchurch 8011
    Hillsborough Christchurch 8022
    Halswell Christchurch 8025
    Hoon Hay Christchurch 8025
    Ilam Christchurch 8041
    Avonhead Christchurch 8042
    Hornby Christchurch 8042
    Northcote Christchurch 8052
    Christchurch 8083 (2)
    New Brighton Christchurch 8083
    Kenmure Dunedin 9011
    Kurow 9534
    Garston Southland 9660
    Waikiwi Invercargill 9843



    Lots of questions. Best to post the one about diapause separately (I don’t know but will try and find out!)

    Firstly, Monarchlover, this is the link to the page where we’ll see sightings.


    If we have a “comments” section people will leave all sorts of comments and queries which of couse we don’t want. Some people request tags in Facebook, for instance. Others tell us about their Monarchs when they request tags. The info. when you tag (or report a find) goes into a database and we don’t want it filled with comments.

    Personally, I wouldn’t tag any Monarchs that are less than prime condition as they’re less likely to be overwintering. So therefore not necessary to record information about deformities.

    BlueSkyBee – when tagged butterflies are reported you can see the start point (where they were released) and where they ended up, so that gives you that information. If there’s only one point on the map it’s probably been sighted by the person who tagged it. (You can, if you like, say you saw a butterfly at your neighbour’s place so that the geocodes are just that little bit different and the two locations show up on a map.)

    When tagged butterflies are recovered letters are sent out to both the person who sighted it and the person who tagged it – but this is done by volunteers who are extremely busy people and they do it in their spare time, sometimes a week or so later.

    I am not sure how the figure of 1124 has been generated – probably one for the web guru to look around in the guts of the programme (and she’ll come out covered in grease, dust and oil) but I will ask her to let us know.

    Regarding JAH601, I can’t get to the bottom of his mystery myself. The butterfly was reported as JAB501 originally. However, JAB500-524 were allocated to a Hamilton tagger (on 13 February) and it would be most unlikely that the butterfly flew from Hamilton to Carterton to a house next door to another tagger. It could be human error that when he saw “H” he thought it was “B” and where it said “6” he thought it was “5”. I changed the tag report to JAH601 to see if that would trigger a map, but nothing appeared. The Carterton tagger received JAH600-624 (on 23 February) but has been hard to contact by phone and email and I can’t understand the information he has sent me as to whether he has input this data yet. And as you have noticed, it was tagged before 1 March. So it’s one of those mysteries but probably not worth spending any more time on at this point.

    Another point – it sounds like the Monarchs were mating, rather than one dead.



    I’m having trouble reaching the page for all tagged butterflies 2013 season. Can someone kindly provide me the link. I note that on the tagged release page there is  no opportunity to add a comment. I have released a female an hour ago and took her inside earlier when I found her in the garden with a bent wing. I know butterflies can fly with is it 40% or 60% of their wings intact. I am wondering if I should trim her wings equally to see if she could fly. I am reluctant to but it’s awful watching one unable to take off. I’d appreciate comments.



    A couple of questions, I check out the sightings quite often, and am especially interested when I see someone has recovered a tagged butterfly, but am always left wondering where the butterfly originated from, is there any way that info (just a town or area) can be included in the sighting info?

    If I had a butterfly that I tagged recovered by someone, would I be let know, or is it just a matter of me looking at the sightings often to check, on the website?

    Also, I see the current count of tagged butterflies for 2013 is 1124, is that from the 1st of March??? If so, that’s amazing!! How many separate taggers are there in the scheme this year?

    Also, I saw this tag recovery;


    Home Garden
    Plum tree, lawn grass

    which puzzled me, as I thought J series were from March 1 2013? Was this butterfly and tag just released early?

    Jacqui, about diapause, if someone experienced were to dissect some butterflies, could they possibly tell if they were in diapause, as the reproductive organs would be immature?



    It would be very strange if “winter” conditions arrived before 1 March.

    There are no outward signs from the Monarchs as to when they will go into diapause. They “sense” that winter is coming, and as they emerge from the pupa, they are “set” to not breed.

    Our “best guess” with scientific advice is that 1 March is not too early and not too late to start tagging.

    Anyone can start tagging after 1 March if they choose to do so – but that’s our key date for the project to start.



    Can anyone tell me why the date of March 1 was decided. I had butterflies last season in June. Are there several generations of wintering over ones? I’d love to know of others in Wellington who will tag too.



    Glad you found your tags, Monarchlover.



    Just got my tags, postcards, prac butterflies etc, thankyou. 🙂




    I have no idea who you are, Monarchlover. How about emailing me and we’ll sort it out.





    I received my practise tags and postcards but not the real tags for the 2013 season. Please advise Jacqui. Thanks.



    Hi Char

    Nothing available yet. Will talk to the web company about generating something. I’m sure it could be done.




    At our butterfly group meeting yesterday I was asked if there was a map of all the recorded butterflies for 2012.

    I explained to  the group that there was a couple of years ago, as I remember Darren generating this report below. I managed to find the old post from 2010 of who is tagging where 🙂


    Do we have a map or can we create a map for 2012 at all? as it would be interesting to see the data.






    To delete the previous year’s tags:

    1. Go to the “Tag Butterfly” page


    2. Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and tap the minus key (next to the zero) so that you can read the [Submit] button at the bottom of the page.

    3. Mouse over the [Submit] button and click – this will remove the tag number in your dropdown menu. Continue to do so until the first tag for this current series shows up.

    PLEASE BE CAREFUL! The first time I did this I nearly deleted some of this season’s tags. Keep checking by using the down arrow next to the tag number, to see how many are left to be deleted.

    Oh! And when you’ve finished hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and tap the plus key (next to the minus) so that your page returns to the usual size.



    Dear Tagging Team

    You can order tags now and we will begin sending them out next week.

    Great news – Yates Garden Products are once again sponsoring the practise butterflies (paper) and postcards, and they all should be ready to be mailed out this weekend.

    Here’s a picture of what will be available.

    Practise postcards

    You can order practise tags, paper butterflies and postcards when you order your real tags, on the same form, here:


    The paper butterflies are not tagged or stapled to the cards but you can involve other people (or classes) in practising tagging, and then use the cards to tell your community that you are tagging. There is a contest kindly sponsored by Yates whereby someone in your neighbourhood (school community) might win $100 worth of Yates Garden Products. (There are two draws.)

    So – all you need to teach people how to tag is a packet of toothpicks with which to lift the tag off the backing paper and away you go. There is a couple of demonstration videos here:

    OR come along to our Conference and see a live demonstration of tagging.

    This year’s tags are the J series. Make sure you’ve downloaded the full instructions of the various steps to follow which are here:


    and you should be sweet.




    Butterfly nets – most people have bought them from the $2 shop and extended the handle. There are no professional butterfly nets available commercially at present, but some people have made their own. I think the instructions are somewhere here in the forum – perhaps you could add a comment to bring it to the top when you find it, Ang.



    A question I have often had other years, is what if you want to get tags for two people in different locations, i.e. a couple of friends who live nearby – or when you are raising/releasing butterflies in a park and at home.

    It is best to have two registrations so that your default release location is not confused.

    It is best to enter details of each butterfly released at the time of release/same day if possible. The clock/date defaults to real time so it is less work for you to do. Most computers now will let you stay logged in , which makes it even more of a timesaver.



    Thanks for the info. 🙂 Also, where is a good place to but butterfly nets from?



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