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Butterfly Journal

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I begin this journal today with great expectations, as I have found 12 Monarch Butterfly eggs. (Danaus plexippus) I also located 4 living Monarch caterpillars (1 4th instar, 3 2nd & 3rd instar) I wonder how long it will take them to grow.


The hunt went well today, and I managed to locate more eggs. Some of the ones I found yesterday have hatched. Of the Monarchs I now have 8 caterpillars ranging from 1st through 3rd instar, and 4 that are either 4th or 5th instar. I also have 22 eggs.


Another good day today. I now have 15 caterpillars of 1st-3rd instar, 4 that are 4th-5th instar, and a whopping total of 45 eggs! I am now having to collect 1 whole stalk of milkweed every day in order to keep them fed.


Those eggs are starting to hatch with a vigor now. I now have 29 that are between 1st and 3rd instar. I found another 4th instar caterpillar today, so now I have 5 that are 4th and 5th instar. I think the largest of them is getting ready to pupate. I now have 51 eggs.


A tradgedy has befallen one of my 4th instar caterpillars. It seems that it has turned brown and gooey (best way I can describe it). I believe it to be dead. On the good side however, I now have 1 making it's chrysylis. I have 43 caterpillars of the 1st-3rd, 3 of the 4th & 5th, and 32 eggs. (Didn't seem to find as many today)

I have now come to a junction in my collection, and have decided to make a butterfly house to keep the adults in. In fact, I will try to catch a few as they nectar on my zinnias. Perhaps I will get more eggs that way. :)


I don't know what it is, but that brown stuff is spreading to my other 4th & 5th instar caterpillars. The one making the cocoon has died, and one other has died. Luckily, the 1st through 3rd instar caterpillars are in a seperate container. I just hope that the brown stuff doesn't spread. I am also beginning to wonder if I should just give it up and leave it to the professionals to raise them.


I spent some time on the Inet last night and did some research on the brown stuff. Seems it's a virus. It's called Nuclear Polyhedrosis. And it is very deadly to the caterpillars. I think all of the larger caterpillars in the container with the virus are going to meet the same gory fate. I have written an Email to a college professor to ask about the virus and how to eradicate it. Hopefully it can be done.

Last Updated: 9-5-96

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