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Old 05-30-2018, 06:27 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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The only predator I have ever seen to the Monarch caterpillars, (remember, the sap of the milkweed makes them toxic to most other animals) is predatory wasps. The females deposit their eggs on the caterpillars, and they then hatch and eat the caterpillars. I'm not saying a Bufo marinus couldn't knock over a plant and eat one, but I don't think they'd enjoy the flavor very well. Perhaps there is a species of bird that I haven't heard of that is able to tolerate the toxic caterpillars, and are eating them?

*Meant to also add, if you grow some common species of passionflower, you will have caterpillars of Gulf Fritallaries and the state butterfly, Zebra longwing.

http://trumpetflowers.com/text/care-...fly-garden.htm

Grow passionflower:

http://trumpetflowers.com/text/care-...sionflower.htm


Here's more on growing milkweed:

http://trumpetflowers.com/text/care-...erfly-weed.htm

Last edited by TerraDown; 05-30-2018 at 06:54 AM..
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:40 AM
 
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I've been raising monarchs for many years. It sounds like your caterpillars and chrysalises are doing well, but there are a number of dangers at each stage.

I have had predatory wasps actually attack and carry off small caterpillars. One morning seven or eight caterpillars disappeared from a plant in a matter of a couple of hours. Spiders will also attack the caterpillars.

Some caterpillars become parasitized by a type of fly (tachinid fly). The caterpillar forms a normal chrysalis, but the fly larva develop inside it, killing the butterfly. The tiny flies then emerge from the chrysalis (yuck).

There's a common monarch disease called OE which causes deformities in the butterflies. Some are unable to fully eclose or hatch from their chrysalises. Others come out with deformed or bent wings and can't fly. If you see butterflies like this, you can't save them. Best thing to do is euthanize so they won't spread the disease. Putting them in the freezer is an easy way.

I'm mentioning all these things not to scare you but so you won't be too dismayed if not all of your chrysalises make it to be healthy butterflies. All kinds of things can happen; it's part of nature.

When the butterflies first emerge, they need some hours to fully dry and be able to fly. I had a cat that would catch and kill them when they were helpless, so I started bringing chrysalises inside and putting them into a habitat, basically just a large box with something absorbent like a paper towel on the bottom and some sticks and twigs for the hatching butterflies to climb up on.

I found that the chrysalises did not have to be hanging. I could take a small tweezer, grasp the "stem" at the top of the chrysalis and very gently pull them off whatever they were hanging from. Then lay them on the paper towel in the box. They hatched just fine with no problems, and I would release them when they were ready.

This is good to know in case you ever find a chrysalis lying on the ground, which happens sometimes, or if you need to remove one because it's in a location where it would be easily damaged by people walking by or something like that.

You will know when they are about to hatch because the green chrysalis turns black and you can see the orange on the wings of the butterfly inside, about a day before the butterfly emerges.

Last edited by saibot; 05-30-2018 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:51 AM
 
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I have milkweeds. The caterpillars also love fennel. I planted some. I think you can buy it at the grocery store. But I would suggest getting plants for your garden.

Birds will kill the caterpillars. I have a friend who comes and get my milkweed leaves when there are cocoons' on it. She puts them in a container with fennel, and when they turn into butterflies she lets them go.

She comes over to get them because I don't have enough fennel.

I would say that the pumpkin has to be fresh. I just read that crisp fresh cucumbers will be eaten by them. found this: They will sometimes eat pumpkin, but only if they are in their final stage just before pupating

Last edited by Mattie Jo; 05-30-2018 at 11:02 AM..
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:02 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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Fennel is the food source for swallowtails. Not to say that when a Monarch caterpillar is moving through a stage of
development, it won't crawl onto nearby fennel.

Fennel provides no protection (in the sap, like milkweed) for the caterpillars, so birds will eat them readily.

But Black Swallowtail caterpillars will be found on fennel, munching on it.

Last edited by TerraDown; 05-30-2018 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:07 AM
 
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Maybe what we have is black swallowtails and not black monarchs, if there is one. They love the fennel. will the swallowtails each cucumbers?
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Old 05-30-2018, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie Jo View Post
Maybe what we have is black swallowtails and not black monarchs, if there is one. They love the fennel. will the swallowtails each cucumbers?
I had swallowtails on my fennel last year. It was the first time I'd ever seen them (but it was also only the second year I had fennel) and they were lots of fun to raise as they grow very quickly and change drastically in appearance over that time. They are not as picky as monarchs; they will eat parsley, carrot tops, and a few other plants in that family. They won't eat cucumber plants, though.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:07 PM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
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https://anorganicconversation.com/pr...h-butterflies/
"To keep pace with the rising demand for avocados in the U.S., farmers in Mexico are clearing forests in order to grow more avocados. This soaring demand for avocado consumption has be met in some way, and unfortunately this is coming at the cost of deforestation in Mexico."


We can increase habitat for the Monarchs here by growing Milkweed, but we can also slow their habitat destruction in Mexico by not eating so much guacamole.
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:38 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
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I have about 20 chrysalis' in my screened in front lanai so for now they are safe from predatory birds and insects. I remember reading that birds won't try and eat them because they are poisonous due to the sap they get from the milkweed plant so I'm not sure what is happening with my sister's. Maybe she just didn't look well enough and they are actually under the leaves.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:32 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
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http://www.city-data.com/forum/membe...monarch-1.html


Shoot I forgot how to post a picture. Just click on this link, it shows the first Monarch coming out of its chrysalis. Now I'm wondering if they will fly off or if I need to get more milkweed for this new generation. Anybody know? I'm in SW Florida. The only info I have found referred to the western Monarchs.

Last edited by chiluvr1228; 06-02-2018 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:23 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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Monarch (butterfly) males actually 'guard' their milkweed. They can be seen chasing one another off of their patch of flowers.

Yes, I'd get more milkweed. But as LIcenter mentioned, milkweed purchased from Lowes/Home Depot?nurseries, has usually been fed fertilizers and/or pesticides. It really is best to grow your own from seed.

I know you can't do that right now, so go ahead and buy more milkweed. Hopefully you can find a clean source.

The butterflies will drink nectar from other flowers, but they do prefer milkweed.

Congratulations, your butterfly looks beautiful-great job and hope for more in the future
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