Monarch Larva Sighted
Sightings report image

Date: 08/18/2019

Number: 7

We operate a small farm on outer Cape Cod with greenhouses, and sell plants and produce. We have native milkweed which I always let grow in a certain area of our farm for the Monarchs. However, we also grow a non-native variety called “Silky Red” which we sell to customers. We only have about 7 plants left in 1 gallon pots which didn’t sell. For several months now, Monarchs have been laying eggs on the few plants we have and there have been so many caterpillars that I have already relocated 18 of them to our area of native milkweed as they are eating most of the leaves and I fear they will exhaust the available food. But females continue to lay eggs and I have now observed a second group of caterpillars of various sizes feeding voraciously. Most leaves have been eaten so some are now eating the milkweed pods as seen in the photo. I have seen a lot of Monarchs this summer, more than I have seen in many years. I also rescued a chrysalis from our greenhouse and moved it to a safer location. That butterfly hatched today and was safely released. I would like to think the species is trying to boost its population, as I have seen multiple eggs laid on one leaf where normally they female trends to spread them around more. It is like they are aware their population is threatened, and have ramped up their egg laying efforts. Anyway, seeing so many butterflies and eggs and caterpillars this season gives me renewed hope that this species will somehow survive.

Orleans, MA

Latitude: 41.8 Longitude: -70

Observed by: Judith
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