Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pupation - A Critical Time For Monarch Caterpillars

Well, all of the caterpillars from Wave 3 are now in chrysalises.  We currently have 14.  One, however, had difficulty shedding its skin entirely when it pupated.  I waited 24 hours and then I removed it manually.  However, the skin had covered up the cremaster and upper tip of the chrysalis.  This area was weak, soggy and wanted to pull away entirely from the chrysalis.  I carefully removed the skin, tied a piece of thread around the cremaster, and hung it on a nail in our mud room.  I am very uncertain if it will make it or not.  However, I have seen worsely formed chrysalises come out as unscathed beautiful adult Monarchs.  So, we will wait and see.  One lesson from this is the importance of the caterpillar fully shedding the skin when it pupates.  It's a critical time for them.  If they don't, it prevents them from forming properly inside the chrysalis.

(Chrysalis with soft top. This is due to not fully shedding the 4th instar skin at time of pupation. The chrysalis may not properly form due to this.)

As for Wave 4, well they're coming on with a vengence.  They are in the outdoor pavillion, and they are almost ready to pupate now!  Literally overnight, about half of the Milkweed plants have been virtually denuded of leaves!  These guys sure can eat.  I have no idea how many are in there.  I won't have a full count for a while yet.  However, many of them are in instar 4 already!  One thing that I have learned from this is that they mature much faster outdoors than indoors.

Happy Monarching!

Caleb & Janae Warren

1 comment:

  1. So did this one make it? Or is it not time yet?