Length of Pupation in Monarchs, Sexing the Chrysalis of a Monarch, etc

That one time, when I said that butterfly season was over and I was ready to write about other things? Yeah…. about that.

There are still Monarchs coming out of their chrysalises around here, and after my excitement over a late season butterfly last October I feel really lucky to have seen the late season lifecycle up close and personal… I have noted a pupation length of 14 days in a friend who emerged just this morning. That compares with 8 days in July/August, when temperatures were hot hot hot and day length was long. Science guys… they said temperature and length of daylight influence rate of growth and length of pupation and this has proven anecdotally accurate.

Late Season Monarch

This Monarch is a male- the first I predicted in chrysalis (I learned how to sex a Monarch chrysalis here). On this butterfly you can just barely see the sexy sexing dot through his hindwing, bulging off a black vein, where his lovely smelly pheromones will be produced. He is also rescued; the last 5th instar caterpillar found in the tomato plants when it was nearing time to take them down. They are gone now, but he is here.

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2 Comments

Filed under Insects!

2 responses to “Length of Pupation in Monarchs, Sexing the Chrysalis of a Monarch, etc

  1. Evan

    I live in Pennsylvania where it is very cold right now. My mother brought a monarch caterpillar into the house a few weeks ago. Now we have a mature monarch in the house and we don’t know what to do with it as it is much to cold outside and it is way too late to migrate. Any ideas?

    • Hey Evan,
      You can feed it sugar water in a sponge or paper towel to keep it going. I was going to say that I would let it go and give it a shot at a normal life… but I did a little googling. It looks like these guys in PA are keeping their newly emerged Monarchs inside for the winter as of a few days ago: https://www.facebook.com/MarvelousMonarchsButterflyHabitat. I wonder if they will survive indoors until the spring? Now I am a little sad I don’t have a winter butterfly of my own!
      I hope you will let me know how it goes.

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