Sunday, December 29, 2019

Monarch Butterflies 2019 : Part 6

Our last entry for the year. I appreciate the funny side of the blog has been overshadowed by the butterfly situation. The jokes ares still there, just click on a subject to the right. Anyway, this last blog reveals the randy side of the Monarch butterfly.

I had a newborn female reluctant to fly away from the swan plant. I tried to coax her to go and all she did was fly a few inches and attach herself to my arm, steadfastly refusing to budge. I've always had that kind of magnetism. After about ten minutes I took her over to some flowers nearby and managed to get the love struck butterfly onto a flower.

My first selfie with a butterfly
No sooner had I taken two steps back when a male swooped down on top of her and made sure she was primed to lay eggs. She hadn't even taken any sustenance since entering the chrysalis stage.

If that wasn't bad enough another suitor arrived and was trying to take over. It wasn't able to cut in on the activities but was very persistent nonetheless. My camera wasn't set up for action movement but you can see well enough what was happening. They don't waste any time getting on with the necessary functions of life.

If at first you don't succeed....

...try again

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Monarch Butterflies 2019 : Part 5

We've had a rush of new entrants to the world of butterflies. Unfortunately, we have had to stop collecting eggs for some respite. At least we had had an impact on the population in our area. People in our vicinity have been commenting on seeing Monarchs in their garden, something missing in recent years.

Here is a swan plant with many newly hatched butterflies.
The plastic below was used for a brief hailstorm. 

Here are a couple of new arrivals preparing to take to the air.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Monarch Butterflies 2019 : Part 4

The wasps are out in force, decimating caterpillars or newly hatched butterflies. They are aggressive, voracious and exotic in origin. A far as these imports go, the only good ones are dead ones. It means we have to have a nursery system otherwise none would survive. We also have to be aware of praying mantis' and earwigs, which seem to be killing the caterpillars.

Below are two ways to care for the chrysalis'. We are trying different things to see what works best. Both of these are good but with the lower one, the frame sits on a container so we need to keep an eye to get them out to spread their wings.

We have now released 134 butterflies for the spring (southern hemisphere) as of 31/12/2019. For the full calendar year it's 217 in total.