An update on the monarch situation at our house:
All but one of the eight chrysalises we had inside have now ‘hatched’, most of them successfully. If possible, we have been watching them more carefully now when we know the butterflies are due to emerge, as several have fallen from their chrysalises. If not rescued quickly their wings don’t form properly and they won’t survive.
On Friday, a chrysalis hatched that had been slightly damaged. We had noticed a small split low on one side a while ago, and I wasn’t sure what effect it would have on the butterfly developing inside. The butterfly emerged and fell, and thankfully we were there to help it, as we later discovered one of its front legs was deformed and of no use to it. Other than that it seemed fine. When its wings were fully formed and it seemed strong we put it outside in the sunshine. It was gone later when we checked, so we think it did fly away.
Yesterday we had three butterflies emerge, two girls and a boy. The male was considerably larger than the other two. I’m not sure why the size difference; there seems to be a range of chrysalis size too. We have very little in the way of flowering plants at our place (nothing that would serve as butterfly food) and are expecting more wet weather over the next few days, so this morning we took all three of them out to a local butterfly garden to release them. There were masses of monarchs flying around and feeding from a large plant with daisy-like white flowers – I haven’t been able to identify it yet. We did not wait to see ours fly today.
Yesterday afternoon I brought the last seven chrysalises inside and am about to tie them to our little stand. We still have around ten caterpillars feeding on our swan plants outside, so may have more butterflies despite the season.
Male Monarch Feeding
Our Three Monarchs (male at lower left)
Monarchs on White Flowers