Final Chapter of The Monarch Rescue 2015

Monach 8 26 15

On 8/26 they are still munching on Milkweed and getting even fatter.

8/28/15  My three fat caterpillars have all found their spots and are in place to form chrysalis.

Monarch 8 28 15 J

8/28 This cat is very still on a Milkweed stem,

Monarch J 8 28 15

8/28 This cat is attached to the bottom seam of the habitat.

Monarch top j 8 28 15

8/28 This cat climbed all the way to the top of the habitat.

8/29/15  Not a happy day.  Something is wrong.  The cat that climbed to the top has a lime green portion where part of the chrysalis started to emerge but it has stopped and gone no further in hours and the cat body is thinner and shriveled looking.  I am sure it is dead.  I googled Monarch problems and the cause could be parasites, a virus, pesticide residue or thermal stress.  Wasp parasites do attack at this stage so that is very possible.  The Milkweed I have was planted two years ago after I bought it from a local nursery.  Could it still have neonicotinoid residue?  I am ruling out thermal stress because our windows are open and our inside temperature and humidity pretty much matches outdoors.  Although it has been cool, I don’t think it is too cold.

Another of my cats is still on a twig – not in a normal position for forming a chrysalis – and hasn’t moved.  It does not look dead so I will take a ‘wait and see’ approach.

The third cat on the bottom seam of the habitat still is in a normal ‘J’ position and looks OK.

I am not feeling good about my ‘babies’, my heart is sick.


To see a real time chrysalis formation click on the link below:

The link below will show a Monarch emerging from the chrysalis:

Isn’t nature wonderful?

That is how it should go.

8/30  Sadly my caterpillars all died before forming a chrysalis.  After reading around on the web I think they may have been infected by a protozoan called OE.

Nature can also be a bitch.

I will try again next year.  I will do a few things differently such as keeping all cats separate until they form their chrysalis and washing all leaves before giving them to the cats to eat.  I still gave them more of a shot then they would have had on their own so although my heart is broken, I wont be deterred from trying again.


If you have had luck with your own Monarch cats and/or butterflies, or if you have any ideas or suggestions for me please let me know in a comment.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sher Doc
    Sep 05, 2015 @ 21:28:47

    Not sure which is worse–having three potential Monarchs that don’t make it or (for the first time) having not a single one. Yes, nature’s full of dangers for all living creatures but the thing that really infuriates me is people blithely spraying deadly chemicals. Hope we learn soon and that next year is better.



    • ruthschickensruthschickens
      Sep 07, 2015 @ 02:17:49

      Yes, nature can be tough but it is nice when we can help things a bit. Using chemicals infuriates me too, especially when stores label a plant to say it attracts butterflies but then admit they used a pesticide on it that will kill them for several years!



  2. Nancy
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 23:37:27

    I did it one summer. I had 3 cats, then the chrysalis, then it died. I plan on going to see them next March.



  3. slcriger
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 20:15:20

    sorry about your bugs….maybe next year will be better



  4. Barbara Faust
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 19:19:18

    My SINCERE SYMPATHY on your loss. I’m SOooo glad there are humanoids like you who can love an ugly cat that you’d expect only it’s mother could love…



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