Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Monarch, life cycle

I am trying to connect some of the dots on the life cycle of the monarchs, at least as it pertains to W TN. I am on the e-list for Texas butterfly ranch (Austin) and Monarch butterfly garden (Minneapolis) which helps connect some dots.

This season was stacked up with milkweed plants, mainly as starts going to market from April through August. I saw scant few monarchs all summer, and others noticed same. Then late Aug, early September, they are around! The last of the egg laying in MN, and from this forum we have Apple and Licenter, then a friend in Nashville (middle TN), and my yard. This wave would be the last, and butterflies hatching born to fly. I was disappointed not to notice any earlier, as some laying eggs, hatching etc around Austin in spring should be coming this way, though most going north through the plains.

There seems to be a bit of overlap of the last egg layers (fertilized females) and those passing though (not fertilized), and now the adults seen are using the yard as a pit stop.
Have fun!
Susan

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applestar
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Re: Monarch, life cycle

Interesting.... 8)

I suppose one explanation would be that the collective northbound "they" didn't know that your garden would make a good rest stop and laying ground. Maybe they just flew high along their "highway" corridor and never came down.

It seems to me like the ones that you see more of in the late summer could be the local ones that eclosed in the area, new butterflies that are still exploring, and the new southbound butterflies that stop when they see milkweed and other favorable signs.

Before, when I first started and in subsequent years, I remarked how first year I found less than a dozen or so cats, and every year, their numbers seemed to double. -- As fanciful as this maybe, it really seemed like my garden had been added to their "Michelin Guide" and next season, more butterflies came back. (I fully realize that it could also be that I had become more attentive and SAW more butterflies and SPOTTED more cats and eggs.)

...But if this is true, you should see more butterflies and have more cats next year.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: Monarch, life cycle

Of course there is no definitive answer, explanations......
As a note, I've had this yard and flowers over 15 years. The selections morph, but it has been a mini oasis for an established time. Now with what I am doing am more aware of monarchs, timing, habits etc. IIRC, have seen more on the summer blooming coneflower in earlier years. The flush for sightings here is always early fall as we get the southern migration. Monarchs and hummers pass through about the same time.

Had more monarchs been around this summer, some of us would have noted. I noticed less than six. This does not make a trend, could be an off year. Just FWIW, am in regular contact with a person in Nashville who is devoting this stage of his life to butterfly watching and counts, both in his yard and surrounding counties. I am also on the e-list for TN butterflies, and check the count reports, especially for this region.

It is interesting, ever morphing.
Have fun!
Susan

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: Monarch, life cycle

When I can I spend time outside at work. In 2 1/2 days I counted over 30 monarchs passing through. It was almost like they were following a guy wire. Almost the exact same line each and everyone followed. Could my job be in the flyway zone?

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: Monarch, life cycle

Lc, that is awesome and more! We have pockets even in-town where more are seen as a group. The ones in my mini oasis more single.

This evening checking the plants, and a number of starter pots of milkweed still out there. I didn't ask for it, but a tiny monarch cat! Yes, got it in under cover on a potted milkweed.

Meanwhile a swallowtail cat is morphing into chrysalis. It's in the mesh 'small pet' zippered container.

Susan -the crazy cat lady who lives on the corner with overgrown stuff
Have fun!
Susan

LIcenter
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Re: Monarch, life cycle

Last weekend I was doing a little weeding around my box woods. No sooner did I get in the weed pulling position, two monarchs come flying out. A little further inspection, just under the deck railing I could see both of the chrysalis from which they emerged. This past Thursday, and Friday I counted another eleven flying the same path I've seen in the past at work. I never would have thought they would still be around this time of year. It is truly amazing what you can see when you pay attention! :)

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Monarch, life cycle

A wonderful little surprise and discovery :D

...There are always stragglers up until and past first frost.

It's down to 28°F here this morning, but maybe a little bit warmer along the coast. I hope they make it! :bouncey:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

LIcenter
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:23 am
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: Monarch, life cycle

I guess as long as there are still flower blooms along the way, and no hard freezes all is good?
We are sitting at 33°F right now, but at 5:00 AM we were at 37°F.

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: Monarch, life cycle

Just a few more monarchs! I had 3 emerge last week. I was gone, but son did get them out of their enclosure. A few others in the area reported, and that should be the end for this season in SW TN.
I'm working on the milkweeds for next season. There were a few of the A incarnata (rose aka swamp) left in qt pots, and they are now up to larger 2.5 qt pots. Hopefully they'll winter just fine, and show green in April. New seeds planted for same, in the frig to chill for about 30 days.
Have fun!
Susan

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Monarch, life cycle

I'm jealous. We saw one about a month ago and that was the last. I don't know if it made the trip south or not. It was cold and drizzly then and for several days after.

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applestar
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Re: Monarch, life cycle

So nice to hear they are making their way south. :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.



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