Odd mass monarch butterfly behavior: check your local pop!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by telemnemonics, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    As a kid I brought home monarch caterpillars and put them in terrariums with fresh milkweed daily, resulting in up to 100 butterfly's hatching in the front yard.
    Back then it was still a bit of a mystery what they did, travel to Mexico and back again?
    I did a lot of reading and followed research as scientists tagged them and figured out their behaviors and habits.
    Some late bloomers would hatch when it was too cold and we would find Florida bound locals to shuttle them to warmer states for release.
    Since then I always check out what they're up to but no longer bring them in to grow in captivity.

    This year we saw the usual monarch egg laying, but it seemed like too many eggs were getting laid on single plants.
    Typically a monarch lays one or two per large plant, so that they have resources for survival.
    Instead they over loaded plants with eggs and the caterpillars have stripped entire plants before being full grown. This with more and bigger plants nearby.

    I speculate that as more local property is developed there are less milkweeds for the monarchs to lay eggs on.
    But the laying too many on small plants while fewer on other bigger denser milkweed patches is not typical monarch parenting behavior IME.

    Just guessing and more to the point I think those of us who love them might look around where they breed and maybe move some to better feeding ground if they look like they will run out of food before fully grown.
    Or not, if you think it's meddling with nature, maybe too many need to have their numbers reduced.

    Watering today I saw one walking across the lawn, which I never see, and saw stems where milkweed plants had been. So I dug out a screen lid aquarium, put in some sumac branches for chrysalis', and a couple of milkweed tops to eat. I think I put five or six of the biggest caterpillars in, from the almost gone plants they were eating.

    This spring up to now we have new summer homes being built below the flood tide line, because tourists are running out of lots to build on.
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here’s a pic of an over crowded plant, lots like this but they’re hard to get good pics of with the iPad and I don’t want to trample the little buggers for a photo op!

    IMG_0931.jpg


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    While taking some pics and posting, these two finished off the plant they were on, no leaves left.
    Moved them to a new plant.
    The smaller on on the right is not in focus.

    IMG_0950.jpg
    IMG_0951.jpg


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  4. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    Good on you to take care of these butterflies.
    I meant to go look at the milkweed around here, havent taken the time yet
    You might be interested in this
    https://www.mission-monarch.org/
     
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  5. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Friend of Leo's

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    Great story and pics. The natural world is fascinating. I've decided when I get time when I retire at 60, I'm going to spend more time studying nature, I have a yearning also to keep bee's. Their life cycle and habits absoluteĺy amaze me.
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That's interesting, map shows no project in Maine.
    I also didn't know they were considered endangered at this time, but have seen the pop get bigger and smaller over the years.
    Might have to look at doing the mission thing, thanks for the link.
     
  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for this....you know WAY more about the Monarchs than I ever will, but that doesn't mean I'm not concerned about what appears to be a growing "imbalance" in many natural orders.
    Please keep us informed as we continue our journey on "Titanic" Earth. (and I'm NOT being sarcastic)
     
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  8. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    The site is from the Montreal Insectarium.
    They might be able to give you info is there is anything in your area
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Several years ago a migrating colony of honey bees camped out in a tree in my yard.
    A maple with a trunk maybe 8" diameter had a clump of bees double that in circumference.
    I was a bit worried that if they moved to a neighbors yard they might get hit with a can of raid, since many who summer in Maine don't actually appreciate the wildlife.
    Called a few folks I know who were or are beekeepers and just monitored the colony until it moved to whatever new home.
    Beekeepers seem to get lots of joy out of the work.
    Honey too!
     
  10. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    I know my girlfriend is growing crazy over bees in particular and pollinators in general, we planted lots of flowers just for that purpose
     
  11. IrishTeleDan

    IrishTeleDan TDPRI Member

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    We have built houses on river flood plains for years here in Ireland. Always works out wonderfully.. For the developer.
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I used to have a mild disdain for growing flowers and only grew vegetables.
    In recent years though I value flowers more for that reason.
    So my gardens are only flowers and the crop is wildlife!

    I actually took a maintenance job when my back could no longer handle construction carpentry, and spend most of my summer work time managing a couple of acres of flower gardens. Never keep up but guests and wildlife seem to approve.
    Keeping connected to nature seems to feed my spirit, and in these times I feel the spirit is too often neglected in favor of financial security, or more often financial survival.
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have had a few unfortunate experiences meddling with nature but I feel OK bringing six big ones in for soon chrysalis making.
    Sticks to make the chrysalis allows removing them to a safer place.

    IMG_0953.jpg


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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Who pays if they get washed away or damaged in flooding?
    In the US we used to have Federal flood plain insurance because private insurance had the sense to just say no.
    Houses would get destroyed and rebuilt in the same spot, but bigger.
     
  15. WisconsinStrings

    WisconsinStrings Tele-Afflicted

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    I've seen more monarch's this year than I have since I was a kid. I hope they are making a comeback!
     
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  16. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    I had THIS book when I was a kid. I may still...

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  17. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    We've had at least 20 caterpillars on the butterflyweeds in the front yard. Two of them are pretty large plants, but the smaller one has a couple of bare stems. Have seen any chrysalises yet, but they're pretty cryptic.

    D.H.

    upload_2019-7-31_14-7-30.png
     
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  18. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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  19. umasstele

    umasstele Tele-Afflicted

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    I planted a ton of milkweed seeds in my garden last year, and have a nice healthy patch. Previously I’ve walked around the neighborhood “stealing” caterpillars from wilkweed in medians, on sidewalks, etc. haven’t seen any yet this year...but I’ve had some monarchs hovering around my garden. Fingers crossed!
    Glad to see that I’m not the only one doing this, with the loss of milkweed due to farming and weed spraying they need our help!
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've never seen monarchs eat anything other than milkweed, maybe in your region they go with that weed?
     
  21. IrishTeleDan

    IrishTeleDan TDPRI Member

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    I believe the state has stepped in over the years. There was a huge ongoing issue for years where land was zoned for housing that was totally unsuitable for one reason or another. including a tendency to flood. All caused by politicians accepting bribes. Millions were spent on tribunals of inquiry. But nothing came of it. Although members of the legal profession were paid small fortunes.. so there's that:(
     
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