Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monarch update

There are simply hundreds of caterpillars on the outside plants now, in fact so many that the plants are getting really eaten and I keep catching a few at a time and taking them to the prison, where there are still a lot of leaves. 
So far, in the prison, I've had 4 butterflies hatch and there are several more chrysalis hanging around.
Three of the butterflies were perfect and after a day of puffing out wings and drying off I let them go in the garden and it's just lovely!
However, one of them was very deformed. The chrysalis wasn't smooth like all the others, it was rough and sort of bulgy ( is that a word??) Now I've learned that this means it's more than likely the butterfly will be deformed if it even lives. I didn't know that before.
When it emerged it had holes in all of it's wings and seemed to have problems holding onto things. I fed it for 2 days with sugar water - it wasn't that interested, then it died. I was really sad but that's nature, I suppose.
I still haven't seen one emerging from it's chrysalis, so I hope I do before the end of the butterfly season. If I do I'll take photos, but if not this will be the last 'Fred' update!
It's been an amazing experience watching them, something I've never done before and will do again next year.
Thanks for all the comments and well wishes for the Freds, it's been lovely!

just before she flew off! Sometimes a butterfly will come right up to us in the garden and I like to think it's one of the ones that I let free, just popping back to say "Hi"


  1. I've got lots of chrysalis' now (or crispies as Olivia calls them). Can't wait to see some flying around.

  2. What a great experience Laura - pity that death is part of life too though.
    Gorgeous 2nd photo.

  3. Good luck with trying to see them actually come out :-) I could never do it. I would sit there the whole morning waiting, waiting, waiting. Quickly run to the bathroom, and they would be out - sigh! Then hubby set up the webcam and recorded it all.

  4. Things like the deformed butterfly make me contemplate just how miraculous it is that life is created so perfectly most of the time. It seems amazingly unlikely that beings could be so complex and yet turn out just as they should more often than not. One of those amazing wonderful mysteries of life.

  5. Never a more true word BLD. I mean these caterpillars go to much to form the chrysalis, then reform into a butterfly - speechless!

    Have any of yours hatched yet Charlotte?

  6. Butterfly friends, how neat!

  7. Thanks for the update, they are so beautiful and your photos are wonderful!


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Laura x