saving the monarch

hawaiiponder34August 24, 2013

Just started raising monarch butterflies a month ago.just released two sofar...with limited amount of host plants, I am still determined to help these heavenly winged friends.I have 4 chrysalides hanging safely..plus 25 eggs left by monarch mom yesterday, on two seperate occasion.2 questions: if I plan to breed these guys will I get a problem with in breeding? Will these guys live buy fruit nectars alone? I just started planting flowers, like zinnias, sunflowers, cornflowers, etc..I kept my caterpillars in a screencage because they are easy target snacks for anole lizards and bulbul birds.any inputs would be a great help, thanks.

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dr.liz(7 NJ)

Adult butterflies will nectar on many different kinds of flowers, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed. If you want those beauties to survive you will have to find a source for milkweed near you. Is there any growing nearby? You can cut stems and put them in a jar of water. Just be sure to seal the top of the jar so the caterpillars don't fall in. There is a lot of information on here already about other methods of rearing them, such as in containers with individual leaves. Best of luck.
Liz

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:09PM
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hawaiiponder34

Thanks Dr.Liz;-) . We dont have milkweed in our area, unless if its in a botanical garden, but monarch butterflies thrive on what we call giant milkweed or Coloptris gigantea ( white or purple). The same plant we. used for Hawaiian leis .just found some bush from good neighbor;-).felt so blessed!!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:09PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hawaii, congrats on your cats! I wish I had some Monarch cats. Last year was my most productive year, released 220 Monarchs. I always release them so I don't know anything about breeding them.

I've seen Calotropis gigantea aka Crown flower growng near my mother's house (southern Florida, approx zone 11). Quite a large woody plant! Here it is:

They also grow Asclepias curassavica - tropical milkweed in the complex she lives in.

This post was edited by terrene on Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 19:58

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:03PM
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hawaiiponder34

Thanks terrene:-) I am new to this. Im so overwhelmed and joyful seeing these winged guys everyday! I heard they were used to be a lot of them flying all over the place, but you will be lucky to see one or two in one day...yes the monarch only lay eggs on crown flower here.they do have asclepias in botanical gardens.havent seen any on the roadside, or anywhere..I actually bought asc.tuberosa and curassavica online from. Georgia company, I like it for the nice beautiful blossoms, ahh, wish me luck on this :-)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:19PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Hawaii,

To answer your question about breeding: It is best to breed unrelated butterflies. If you google about breeding butterflies, it will tell you that they will become weak and susceptible to diseases if they are interbred. I think breeders get stock from two different sources so as to avoid this. However, I have read on some sites where people were trying to breed butterflies from their backyards. This might be OK if two different females visited and laid eggs. Males will live quite a while and patrol an area, so a subsequent brood might provide a female that was not related. You might also locate eggs at another location and raise them separately.

And then, it is very difficult to get them to breed in captivity. I have tried with butterflies from different sources. I was unable to hand pair them successfully using instructions from the internet. I have recently read that it takes 3 to 5 days for them to be receptive to breeding in captivity. Best to put them in a large area and let them do their thing. If you have a screened porch or a greenhouse, these would work.

Good luck!

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:28PM
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hawaiiponder34

Thanks butterflymomok ;-), I appreciate your input.I am now focusing on planting more flowers and host plants. So far I have 5 chrisalides and 30+ eggs. I have a lot to learn, I am so glad I found this web forum to get more infos. Great learning experience;-)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:25AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Ditto to what Sandy said. If you keep planting that giant milkweed, they'll multiply on their own - hopefully, others in Hawaii will do the same. Since the flowers are so pretty and used in leis, what better could they plant? :)
Actually, I thought they used frangipani? for leis, but I guess they use a variety of flowers.
Keep us posted!

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:43AM
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ericwi

To my knowledge, monarch butterflies are not native to Hawaii. If they were scarce in past years, that would be the reason. I can't say what the effects will be of introducing monarch butterflies to this new environment. Here in the midwest USA, there are some introduced species that are causing problems, including zebra mussels, carp, garlic mustard, japanese beetles, snakehead fish, and a green beetle that kills ash trees. On the other hand, pheasants were introduced from China many years ago, and they seem to fit in OK. I think its important to consider the possible outcomes of moving species around to new global locations.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:15AM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

Eric, I'm not sure when monarchs were first in Hawaii but they have been there a long time...I think there is also a "white" variation. Tony

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:54PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

You are right, Tony. Ladobe talked about the Monarchs in Hawaii, and he studied the white form if I remember correctly. Monarchs are also in New Zealand.

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:22PM
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hawaiiponder34

Hi guys, additional info: Monarch butterflies in Hawaii does not migrate to any other places. and they feed on crownflower or calotropis gigantea...and oh yes, that is also the favorite flower of Queen Liliuokalani, the last Monarch of Hawaii. this plant is so beautiful, I think it stinks, or sometimes scent-free, it comes in light purple and white. I just started planting both. and yes, Sherry, I wish too that everybody should plant it even just one bush of crown flower...will make a big difference to Monarch population:-) speaking of "white monarch" there is a lady in Kaneohe, ( other side of the island of Oahu, where I live ), who raise both brown orange monarch, and she also raises "white" monarch. here in Hawaii, we have only 17 different kinds of butterflies. I have gulf frit, Chinese swallowtail, and monarch in my yard:-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 6:43AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Gulf frits? Wow! I knew that gulf frits had a large range, but I didn't know Hawaii was a part of it!

Can you post pictures of the Chinese swallowtail? I've never seen one and always enjoy seeing new butterflies!

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 9:53AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Thanks for enlightening us. I love the crown flower. My daughter lived in Laos, and now in Thailand. The crown flower grows there and is host to the Tiger butterflies which are also members of the Danaus family. I wish I lived in an area where they could survive. Alas, our winters are just too cold.

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 10:50AM
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hawaiiponder34

This is chinese swallowtail ( Papilio xuthus).probably the only kind of swallowtail we have here in Hawaiian island.they lay eggs on citrus trees, in my yard I have lime tree.they also lay eggs in tangerine tree, pomelo, and small citrus fruit we call " calamansi" fruit ( sorry, gotta find the scientific name for that one. How I wish that we have you guys in the mainland US called Black swallowtail, pipervine, tiger etc. But I got 2 livechinese swallowtail cats in a cage.I will post pics later.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:06AM
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hawaiiponder34

Another pic;-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:10AM
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hawaiiponder34

Chinese swallowtail drinking water? Not sure, maybe just cooling off;-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:14AM
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hawaiiponder34

This is what they look like as a caterpillar, this one I am not really sure how old? But I can say they grow too slow, not moving much, and not so pretty:-D

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:21AM
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hawaiiponder34

This chinese swallowtail cat's picture I took few days ago, I am surprised how pretty he/she turned out, I cant wait for it to pupate.but for now I enjoy feeding them ( I have two).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:24AM
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hawaiiponder34

This is gulf fritillary butterfly in my yard.these guys got me started about raising monarch butterflies.I have a spot in my yard where so called passion fruit bush was creeping pretty fast...I have no clue about butterdlies, caterpillars nor have no knowledge about their life cycle.all I know is that each morning, I noticed this guys hovering in my yard, in twos, then 4's, 6 to 10....so I googled it and the rest is history.I ended up putting a mesh net over my passioflora foetida vines so to protect the cats from mynah birds..

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:36AM
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hawaiiponder34

Gulf frit on my eldorado bush.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:41AM
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hawaiiponder34

Gulf cat.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:45AM
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hawaiiponder34

Gulf frit just came out from the cocoon. Neat!!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:50AM
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hawaiiponder34

One fat cat :-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:54AM
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hawaiiponder34

Making more gulf babies;-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:57AM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

Hawaii Ponder, another milkweed species for your area would be Calotropis Procera.

What (potentially) makes this better than gigantea is that it's also a FRAGRANT NECTAR PLANT for the monarchs, as well as a host....see pictures on link below.

I am growing some in pots this season (in Minneapolis) and even got a couple eggs on them. (they will mature and flower next season if they survive indoors)

Great photos you posted BTW, Tony

Here is a link that might be useful: Calotropis Procera for Monarch Butterflies

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 3:17PM
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hawaiiponder34

Hi Tony! thanks:-) I have to look for that plant. I am new to this butterfly thing ( started back in early July ). for every Hawaiian homes, and others alike, they have crown flower plant either light purple or white. I guess none of them keep it for monarchs, but for Lei flower. would be nice if everybody unites for monarch butterfly:-) thank you very much!!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 3:49PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

That's great that everyone has a crown flower plant. That means the Monarchs are provided with lots of host plants.

Your photos of the Chinese Swallowtail are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 4:27PM
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