Monarch chrysalis on dogbane?

catherinet(5 IN)May 28, 2011

Now that I seem to be growing tons of Dogbane here, it makes me think back several years ago, when the only Monarch chrysalis I've ever seen here, was growing on something that looked very much like Dogbane. That couldn't happen, right? Or could it?

Thanks!

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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

You can find a chrysalis anywhere so don't assume that finding a chrysalis on a plant means you found a hostplant.

You'll find people who say dogbane is a monarch hostplant and you'll find people that say it isn't. My suggestion would be to try it yourself and see what happens. If the cats don't make it on dogbane, try switching to using 5th star cats on dogbane and see what happens. I've never done this. I'm just tossing out suggestions to satisfy your curiosity.

When it comes to caterpillars, I have found that some supposed hostplants can not complete the mission. I've seen cats eat "hostplants" for a week but then stop and die. I've seen cats eat "hostplants" for months but never pupate. To me, a hostplant is a food source that can accomplish the complete egg to adult cycle.

We have found that 5th instar monarchs can eat many types of squash but the 1st to 4th cannot. Hence, squash (not the leaves, the actual squash) is not a monarch hostplant in my book but can be useful if you run out of milkweed late in the year.

I've sent hundreds of polyphemus cats to their death trying to find one that could reach maturity on quince, a supposed hostplant. Almost all the cats seem to love the quince right out of their eggs. But sometime during the 2nd instar, they quit eating and die. The farthest I've gotten is one 4th instar cat. Maybe there is a polyphemus out there that could stomach quince all the way but I have not found it. Box elder maple is another supposed polyphemus hostplant that I've never been able to use to get a cat to moth-hood.

All that said, regional differences in moths/butterflies could possibly explain hostplant discrepancies. Maybe an Alabama poly can live on quince while a central Ohio one cannot. Even after all the poly deaths my experimenting has caused, I have yet to tell folks to correct their hostplant lists since I wonder about regional differences.

YMMV,
KC

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 3:42PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks for sharing your experiences KC.....sounds like you've had quite a few!
I don't hand raise butterflies. I just have alot of property and let them do their thing themselves.
Your info is very interesting. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

...the only Monarch chrysalis I've ever seen here, was growing on something that looked very much like Dogbane. If you mean a caterpillar, that can still grow. Chrysalis means coccoon, and they don't "grow." They just hang around until they are "ripe." When the caterpillars are ready to make a chrysalis, they will do it in any place, on any surface they find suitable and handy. At my Mom's house, there is a passionvine that grows along the chain-link fence. The caterpillars often make their chrysalis attached to the fence.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:53PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks purpleinopp,
I realized I shouldn't have used the word "growing", but decided not to post that again. I wish this place had an "edit" function.
Knowing the chrysalises hang anywhere, gives me lots more places to look!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I was hesitant to post that, figured you knew the difference, but did so just to make sure anyone else who might read it would not get confused. The first monarch chrysalis I ever found was attached to the side of a flower pot. There was no internet then, and I never knew what it was until the next summer when I went to a butterfly exhibit at the Ohio state fair.

Oh how we all wish for an edit function, you're in good company. Happy hunting!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:09AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

No worries purpleinopp! :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:22PM
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