Return to the Butterfly Garden Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

Posted by sitali301 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 14, 10 at 17:02

I am currently raising about 15 monarch cats, the first of this season. I'm noticing that some appear "dirty" with smudgy markings and more black than white in the stripes. I thought I remember reading that this could indicate OE? I hope not... They are all acting healthy and eating up a storm. Should I be worried? Thanks for any input! Here's a pic.
Photobucket


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

There is a lot of variation. Are the temps cooler? Sometimes melanization across the caterpillar is because of cooler temperatures. If the caterpillar has OE, it tends to be more sluggish and have very dry frass. The caterpillars almost seem constipated.
-Elisabeth


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

Here are some Monarch cats that I took a picture of two years ago. You can see how they can vary in color. I've had some a few times that had next to no black in them at all, just yellow and white mostly. I wish I'd have had one of those at the time that I took this picture; I'd have put it in the picture too.

3 Different Colors of Monarch Cats


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

This website has a picture of a caterpillar that actually has Oe.

Here is a link that might be useful: OE Spores


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

I was looking around on the computer to see if I had one that was more yellow and found one. Now you'll just have to imagine this one beside my other three above. :)
Photobucket


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

Yes, my house is air conditioned so temps are definitely cooler than outside. I didn't realize that can make a difference! Interesting!

Caterwallin, so all those cats eclosed successfully and were healthy? That makes me feel much better!

Thanks all!


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

If they appear healthy, then they probably are. You can test them after they emerge. Some that have the OE will not make it out of their pupa. Others, will emerge and appear healthy. Learning to test them will let you know if they really have the spores. But, there are other things that can cause disease; for example, bacteria.

I've listed the Project Monarch Health website, it has information about how to raise healthy Monarchs and how to test for OE.

Here is a link that might be useful: Project Monarch Health


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 15, 10 at 8:49

Some years ago I came across research done in Canada, with regard to monarch development and ambient temperature. They found out that when the temperature of the environment is around 81 degrees F, the caterpillars and chrysalids develop to maturity in the shortest time. Wide black stripes on monarch cats are a sign of cool temps. If the caterpillar is infected with Oe, the chrysalid might have dark patches.


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

Temperature constraits for Monarchs:
31 C to 35.5 C temperatures become lethal (87.8 to 95.5 F)
12 C development threshold (53.6 F)

The Monarchs have ways of controlling their temperature. Staying under leaves during the day when it is hot. In the late fall, I've seen Monarchs and Black Swallowtails caterpillars get darker. They do absorb more light and can warm up faster.

Here is a link that might be useful: Temperature Constraints


 o
RE: 'Dirty' looking monarch cats?

sitali301, Yes, I'm happy to say that those in the pictures all eclosed successfully. I've had Monarchs (and other kinds) that didn't eclose successfully, but that's to be expected. Of the ones that I raise, though, far more make it than don't make it. Best of luck with yours.
Cathy


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Butterfly Garden Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here