Saturday, October 18, 2014

All Hail the Monarchs (round 4)

Hatching day!

And how does one tell that hatching is immanent? The chrysalises look like this:

7 of the monarchs hatched on Sunday between 9 am and 2 pm.  Another 2 emerged within a few hours after that.  In the picture below, you can tell that the butterfly in the background has just recently emerged because its wings are all scrunched up, after another 15 minutes or so, the wings were completely unfurled and it looked like the one in the foreground.  Because the weather was not ideal for butterfly release, I pushed the release to Monday...and then it was pouring on Monday so I had to wait until Tuesday.  Of course, the problem with keeping butterflies for a few days is that they do need to eat - they won't need food the first 24 hours or so, but after that, you should place a sponge soaked in sugar water in the cage (I used hummingbird mix ratios - 1 part sugar, 4 parts water).  Tuesday morning was bright, and a bit chilly, but all in all a good day for butterfly release.  I managed to reach into the cage and pull out the cup (which still has 5 chrysalises on it), and the sponge and then walked outside with the covered cage.

I pulled off the top with a flourish.  And the butterflies just sat there.  Hunh.  I guess it was early, and still a little chilly.  So I waited, and carefully picked up some of them and put them on the zexmenia flowers.  Most hung out for a little bit before flying up to sun themselves on the red tipped photinia.  An hour or so later, they were all flitting about the yard.

Be well my little monarch friends, be sure to mate lots and lay lots of eggs.  Bring those butterflies back!

Update: Shawn mowed the lawn this evening (Wednesday - and just after I released another 3 butterflies) and told me that he's pretty sure he mowed over a monarch butterfly.  sigh.  I save them, he kills them.  Wonderfu.

1 comment:

Debra said...

What a cool project! Monarchs are pretty tough. Not sure about surviving a lawn mower attack but one time I found one with a broken wing. We were able to repair it with glue. I kid you not.