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Monarchs mating in the Garland Community Garden - October 8, 2018

Photo by Jane Stroud

According to information from the University of Minnesota, mating monarchs can remain together for 16 hours or longer, and it is only at the very end of this period that sperm are transferred.

The tiny beginning - Monarch egg on underside of native milkweed leaf. Only about four days later it will be a caterpillar.- Garland Community Garden  -  September 26 - Photo by Liz Berry

Females lay their eggs most often on the underside of the leaf where the caterpillars  when they hatch cannot be seen by flying birds and insects from above.   A female Monarch will lay up to 500 eggs--one at a time. The egg is translucent oval-shaped and tiny.  Compare the size of the egg to the thumbnail of the person holding it.   

The total time frame for one butterfly’s life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks…egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar’s life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 – 6 weeks.  Monarch butterflies may take as many as five generations to make it from Mexico to southern Canada and back again.  The last generation of Monarchs each year that migrates to Mexico live up to five months.  They are the ones who make the return trip to the USA and Canada and these are the ones who make the first generation of the new year.

However, the oldest monarch we know of is  Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.  Born on April 26,1926 Elizabeth Windsor is the oldest monarch in history, at age of 92.  She took the crown on June 2, 1953 when she was 27.   :)

 

Monarch Caterpillar - Rescued from the Garland Community Garden - September 20, 2018 

Caterpillar in the photo above is in its fifth instar.  The intervals between molts are called "instars".  After this one has eaten his final full of milkweed leaves, he will crawl to the underside of the lid above him, assume a "J" position and begin to transform into a pupa.  The total time for being a caterpillar is about 14 days.

Now the Caterpillar has morphed into beautiful green pupa.
Photo courtesy Jane Stroud

It will take the caterpillar about 10 days inside the pupa to transform itself in a beautiful Monarch butterfly.

Tagged female monarch, ready for release. - photo by Liz Berry
Charlie's Garden -Perspective I

Tagged female monarch, ready for release. - photo by Liz Berry
Charlie's Garden -Perspective II

Tagging and Rescue

Members of Loving Garland Green rescue caterpillars from the Garland Community Garden and also from our own gardens at home.  We put them in well-ventilated plastic containers and then tag and release them when they mature (eclose) into Monarch butterflies. In the wild less than 5% complete the life cycle from egg to butterfly.  When rescued and allowed to develop in a protected environment, 95% are able to complete their lifecycle.

Our nonprofit organization also tags monarch butterflies in the wild as they pass through our North Texas area on their way to the Mexican highlands.  Information on these tags assists researchers from Monarch Watch in learning more about the Monarch.  In the past 26 years over 1.5 million monarchs have been tagged.

 
(Note:  in the photo above, tags for seven Monarchs were already used.)

People who see a tagged butterfly dead or alive are requested to contact Monarch Watch and report the sighting. Ideally the butterfly is netted alive and the tag code recorded before releasing the butterfly.  Even if the Monarch is not alive, please call and report that as well.

First Line:  Email address for Monarch Watch.
Second Line:  Name of Organization 
Third line: telephone number
Fourth line:  a unique alphanumeric code identifying the monarch. 

There will be only one code for each monarch tagged.  The people tagging have record sheets where they record the code to identify the butterfly, date it was tagged; sex as F or M; whether it was reared or tagged in the wild; City, State and Zip.  When they have completed their tagging efforts (usually by the end of October) They send this information to the researchers at the University of Kansas.

 Come Visit the Garland Community Garden and You can be a Monarch too!

Get a friend to take your photo as a monarch.

 

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