monarch caterpillars -- where do they make chrysalis?

taragirl(z7 NC)May 15, 2008

Hi. I've been hosting a bevy of monarch caterpillars on my butterfly weed plants for the last week or two. Yesterday they were big and fat and sluggish, and today they're all gone! I know they're about to change clothes -- where do they do it? I was hoping they'd do it right on my skeletonized butterfly weeds so I could watch them!

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taragirl, the same thing happened to me. I was shocked to find they had all vanished one day. They had however all scooted over to neighboring plants and set up their chrysalis shops over there. If you look carefully on the undersides of the leaves, you will find them. The chrysalis are leaf green in color. It is thrilling to see them emerge from the chrysalis

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:27PM
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Yep, I've never seen them do it on the milkweed itself, it's always a few feet away on something else.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:47PM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I keep my milkweed in a pot on the patio. When it's time to morph, I have found the cats on the rim of other pots, on the back of my lawn chairs, hanging under a birdhouse, on the shelves on the patio, even on the handle of ny watering can. Can keep my eye on them that way.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 4:10PM
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I am soooo jealous. I have not seen any Monarchs yet. I am west of Charlotte NC.

I put my Monarch cats in kid's bug cage to pupate to protect them from wasps and so I can watch the process.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 8:45PM
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taragirl(z7 NC)

No need to be jealous -- I still haven't found them yet! I read that they can travel up to 40 feet away from their milkweeds to find a place to pupate. I have been looking everywhere! I have a ton of trees nearby, all types, as well as weeds, grasses, vines, etc.

Does anyone know if they have a preferred plant on which to pupate? Or any other clues? Do they head for shade? Do they head N, S, E or W? How high off the ground do they prefer? Do they choose woody plants over weedy annuals?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 1:07PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Yes, they prefer woody plants over annuals, They'll attache to almost any hard surfaces. Look on a nearby tree, or rock or house...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 2:45PM
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They will also build their crysalis on the siding of your house. If it is in an exposed spot they stand a good chance of becoming someones dinner. I just lost my first one this way. I knew it was not a good location, but didn't act fast enough to move it to a safer location. : (

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:09AM
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So happy to see that my monarchs didn't just get eaten or were carried off by garden gnomes. I looked in a woody Cape Honeysuckle we have and there was one, I'm assuming there are others there I can't see. So glad for this site. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:45PM
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