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monarch cat forming crysalis on tomato plant

Posted by dkgarber ma 6a (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 7, 10 at 10:43

I have many cats, and most are on the milkweeds but i just went out to harvest some cherry tomatoes and found a large cat, dangling from one of the tomato plants and she's doing the "C" formation. Is she about to spin a crysalis on my tomato plant???

Should I move her?? I am afraid harvesting the tomatoes will disturb her. She's also not in any sort of cover--she's on the outer most part of the plant and exposed to the elements.

Is it normal for them to choose tomato plants?? I have huge stand of milkweeds in the butterfly garden. Why did she choose such an ulikely location? I want to make sure nothing happens to her.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: monarch cat forming crysalis on tomato plant

Larva of some species commonly wander far and wide to pupate, and often do so in whatever handy place they find. To use you Monarch for an example, in Hawaii they seldom pupate on their Calotropis gigantea host plant. Most often you find their chrysalis on rock walls, chain link fences, etc at great distances from the larval host.

No need to move it unless you are worried about damaging it while harvesting your tomatoes. The elements won't bother it.


RE: monarch cat forming crysalis on tomato plant

I am rearing Monarchs indoors, and most of the cats pupate on the paper towel taped to the lid of their container (then I move the paper towel to an aquarium tank, where they will eventually eclose). But a couple decided they didn't want to crawl to the top and pupated right on a milkweed leaf. I just waited 24 hours and then trimmed the leaf and taped the leaf to the top of the container along with the other chrysalides. This worked great. You can cut off the leaf and bring it inside if you'd like to watch the butterfly eclose, otherwise, as Larry said, I would leave it alone.

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