Monarch Attaching Sideways

treehugger101July 29, 2014

One of the cats attached himself sideways to the side of a mesh Butterfly enclosure instead of at the top hanging upside down in the "J." Can he still transform into a chrysalis? Thanks!!!

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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

It should be fine. I don't have monarchs do it very often but many of my red admirals seem to prefer the side.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:44AM
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Catgirl18

Strange, I just had one do it for the first time. Last night he was j shaped but this morning he is straighter. Makes me a little nervous. I'll just have to wait and see. I also had two cats hang close to one another (at the top) the one kept touching the other with his feelers because he wasn't hanging yet and still moving around some. The other one who was in a j was getting very annoyed, swinging himself at the other one trying to get him away. This morning all is quiet and they are both hanging in their j :)
Cathy

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:21AM
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treehugger101

My first one hung in a J for a full 24 hours. Now he is straight and turning black. I hope he is not dead. It has been 18 hours since he started. The other one is attached to the side by his butt and a claw nail; not hanging at all but completely horizontal. I tried to unhook his nail but he got upset and rehooked it so I am leaving him alone. I wonder if I am causing this problem by unzipping the cage to clean out younger cat poo while the bigger cats are trying to form the chrysalis. Is it my fault? They do a lot of swinging around with the unzipping and zipping despite my best efforts! Please help! I have 18 more I don't want to kill!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:41AM
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treehugger101

The one hanging straight is dead. The one sideways is dying. Will someone please tell me what I am doing wrong? I have 6 nice chrysalises outside and this group is 15. I've lost the first two. I purchased these from 2 different places. I also have 3 babies wild caught. Any ideas? How long should it take from the J to a chrysalis? 10 minutes? 6 hours? I don't know. The 6 outside happened while I was away.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:35PM
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spiroan

Hi Treehugger,

Sorry for your loss. I'm not completely sure why you are having the issues. Maybe some sort of bacteria? I imagine someone with more knowledge will chime in during the next day or two. If you know they are dead/dying, though, I would get them out of the cage as soon as possible. Keep in mind that less than 10% of caterpillars in the wild (I think the number is closer to 2%) turn into butterflies. So, if you lose less than 90%, you are helping out. It is always difficult to lose them, though.

As far as how long they hang in the "J", I don't have experience with monarchs, but my black swallowtails generally take about a day (sometimes 2) once they get in the "J" position. For some reason, they tend to form their chrysalis at night or very early in the morning, so from my experience, if they get in their "J" close to dark, usually they form their chrysalis the next night. If they get in the "J" in the morning, they may form their chrysalis that night. I'll occasionally have one form their chrysalis during the day, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Sorry I couldn't help more.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:20PM
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treehugger101

spiroan, Thanks for responding. I am worried that disturbing them during this process by unzipping and zipping the cage could be messing them up somehow. Or possibly the genetics on this "batch" were weak to begin with. I will some one in Monarchs would lend me some smarts. It is so sad. By the way, I LOVE BST.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:40PM
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spiroan

I can't imagine that unzipping and zipping the cage would hurt them, unless they are falling to the ground. But monarchs may be different. I'm sure someone who has raised monarchs will have a better idea.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:57PM
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cottonwood468

To any of you watching a monarch caterpillar hanging in the J position, waiting for it to form a chrysalis. Immediately before forming a chrysalis, the feelers will hang absolutely straight down like a wet black thread in rain with no wind. So that's when you sit and watch. Don't look away you'll miss it. Takes less than a minute to form chrysalis. After hanging upside down for many hours.

In another eleven days, the monarch will emerge and it will usually be in the morning, around dawn. So get up and have your coffee and watch.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:32PM
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treehugger101

Thanks, Cotton. I have raised Monarchs before but never had this happen. The third Monarch just died. He was in a perfect J yesterday, all day. This morning, he is hanging straight down and dead like the last one. So this is 3 in a row that died while trying to morph. Doesn't anyone have any ideas on what this could be?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:19AM
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cottonwood468

The University of Kansas has a site called monarchwatch, I
I think you can find disease/parasite info there.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:37AM
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treehugger101

Cotton, Thanks for trying to help! There is nothing there relating to this issue. I did email someone from the University but as this is Summer, I am not sure I will receive a timely response. I will let you know. It could not be a simple disease since they were in brand new large cages (no transference of disease), changed twice a day and kept indoors.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Catgirl18

I don't remember if u said whether or not these were cats u brought in from outside or not. If u brought them in from outside they were probably parasitized while outside. That happened to one of mine 2 years ago. I couldn't tell when it was a cat, it seemed healthy. But when it changed it turned black and a string came out the bottom of the chrysalis. I crushed it (a very hard thing to do)!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:53AM
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treehugger101

Cat, This batch was purchased online. They were eggs and babies that hatched on the way in the box.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:02AM
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BERGER123(4b-5a)

Hi
We're did you get the batch? Butterflyworx is the worst they inbreed a lot. So that's why but I have had the same thing happen three times with all different batches from the wild but I think they were parasitizied.
Jacob

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:26AM
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treehugger101

Jacob, I bought them from Butterfly Bushes.com. I ordered 10 eggs and received 18. I am down to 12 as of today.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Bushes

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:35AM
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JCS.z9.sactown

Have you used any flea/tick products on a cat or a dog in the last couple of months?These products are extremely powerful and have a chemical that interupts an insects ability to reach adulthood.What you describe is exactly what happened to an entire brood of 30 pipevine caterpillars 6 months after I had used a bug bomb for fleas in my home.2 years later after using advantage flea/tick treatment on my cat a brood of monarchs suffered the same fate.The monarch caterpillars were in a large terrarium with a screen lid and my cat decided to take a nap on top a few days after being treated.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:33PM
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treehugger101

We do not own dogs/cats. Your story is incredible. I can totally see how that could happen. If it was not something wrong with the genetics, the only thing I can think of is the milkweed was contaminated by farmers. Perhaps the wind blue it into the wild areas. But we collected from different areas. And why would our first group grow fine? (They are actually hatching right this minute! Yeah!!!) It is just this one group.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:34PM
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