Anne Kilmer viceroy at gate.net
Fri Dec 14 10:30:21 EST 2001

Paul Cherubini wrote:

> Guy Van de Poel & A. Kalus wrote:
>> But if I were to rear monarchs over here (Germany), I could choose which
>>plants I would take to rear them on. So if I would rear them on A. syriaca
>>they would come from ...
>>Nobody can garantee that I use the proper plant, so that's why it should be
>>forbidden to release them at all (that is over here in Europe).
> If you became a commercial monarch breeder in Germany you would not grow
> A. syriaca because it does not grow well continously in a greenhouse 
> environment and cannot be harvested repeatedly to feed hungry caterpillars.
> Monarchs have been appearing in the fall in the British Isles on a fairly regular
> basis since 1876 - long before there were businesses in England breeding
> and releasing monarchs or holding them in butterfly houses (from which
> they sometimes escaped). 
> As in mentioned in an earlier post, in the mid-1800's steam powered
> ships replaced wind powered ships and the travel time between
> the USA and England was cut from months down to only 7-10 days.
> So I feel it is highly likely that cardenolide fingerprinting will
> eventually tell us the natal source of these autumnal British Isles 
> monarchs is the USA or Canada because they will be found to consistently
> have the fingerprint of A. syriaca.
> Paul Cherubini

In South Florida, we grow A curassavica for our milkweed butterflies ... 
as well as a gang of  milkweed natives.
Farther north, "Butterfly Weed" A. tuberosa is commonly grown by 
butterfliers, despite warnings that it contains an insufficient amount 
of toxins, and the resultant butterflies are palatable to birds. But 
that's another story.
In any case, an occasional Monarch is said to have been swept up by 
hurricanes and blown to the British Isles ... wafted by a favoring gale, 
if you will.
But, whether carried on shipping or stormwinds, a Florida Monarch would 
probably be flavored with A. curassavica.
This plant is a pantropical weed, and grew here plentifully before we 
became interested in "helping" butterflies. So that chemical tag will 
apply to many tropical and subtropical areas outside of Africa, I 
reckon, and the chemical evidence will be found in long-dead butterflies.
Life ain't simple, but it's interesting.
Anne Kilmer
South Florida


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