Sunday, 10 August 2014

Another Hatchling

A few days ago I found two more monarch butterfly eggs under leaves of the same milkweed plant. Hurray! Last night, I could only find one egg. I'm not sure what happened to the other one. Anyway the one egg had a black dot on the end which indicates that it's getting ready to hatch.

The leaf the egg was on had all dried up so I removed all but a bit around the egg and put a fresh leaf right beside it. This morning, I checked and there indeed was a new little larva. If you don't know what to look for they're hard to see.
Here it is metrically.
Again, this will take about 10 - 14 days to reach full size before pupating.

The two chrysalises continue to 'hang in there'. The third, ailing larva has crawled up to the top of the container but doesn't seem to be doing much of anything.

Although it is very small (about 2/3 the size of a full-grown larva) I thought it was getting ready to shed its final exoskeleton in preparation for pupating but nothing seems to be happening. I'm afraid that without food, it's just going to perish up there. I found two more eggs just now very close to the stem of each of the leaves. I've got the stems in water hoping to keep the leaves somewhat fresh 'til the eggs hatch.

In spite of continuing to find the odd egg here and there, I haven't seen a single monarch butterfly in our yard. They are very stealthy this year when laying their eggs.

It has been somewhat disconcerting this year to a) not find very many eggs, and b) not have had more larvae make it to the pupa stage. Next year, I plan to keep the leaves moister so they don't dry out by the time the eggs hatch.

In spite of the setbacks, I have 2 pupae that will most likely make it to the butterfly stage and at least one larva that might make it to the to the butterfly stage. We'll see about the two eggs I found today.

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