Eastern Black Swallowtails & Monarchs
nightwriter2001 at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 1 01:44:48 EDT 2000
I've put up pages with this year's Eastern Black Swallowtail and Monarch
Pretty in Pink:
We have a south facing butterfly oriented wildflower slope in southern
ontario. Along with the EBS and M, there were Red Admirals (2
generations), American Painted Ladies, Sulphurs, Question Marks and/or
Commas, Tiger Swallowtails, Monarchs and, just today, a pair of new
looking Mourning Cloaks. There were also all kinds of little leps that
we can't identify, and lots of moths - though not as many as in previous
The odd thing is that I don't have any overwintering Eastern Black
Swallowtail chyrsalids. It's the first time in years that we haven't had
them. Mind you, it's also the first time in years we've had summer
emergents - the green type chrysalids. All my overwintering chrysalids
have been the brown/tan type. Haven't seen any stage of EBS past the
middle of August this year.
Last year, I had one successful emergent out of 10 Monarch chrysalids.
I'd fed them on milkweed from the field by the railway track and the
golf course. They had an odd head banging behavior that seemed somewhat
unnatural. It aroused curiosity in one insect toxicologist I talked to.
He thought it very unusual.
This summer, we tried with just 2 eggs from the slope, and got 2
healthy, anatomically correct emergents (that did not bang their heads).
They were fed on our own milkweed, which was big enough this year. There
were more Monarch adults nectaring than usual ... and there was
courtship and mating going on for about a month from the end of July
on. I left one caterpillar out on the slope to see what would happen.
It turned into a chrysalid that became a murky black, and never emerged.
It's still a mystery.
Are Monarchs susceptible to the types of fungus and mildew found on
plants? There's been no shortage of any kind of fungus in our backyard
from spring to fall.
After spotting and photographing the Mourning Cloaks today, I looked
them up on the Warp Zone site, and the entry said that they rarely
nectar. Well, that's what the two in the slope were up to .... nectaring
Nature is full of surprises.
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