Today I did a milkweed survey for monarch eggs and larvae. I looked at 427 native milkweed plants (Asclepias viridis) and found a total of 294 eggs and 30 larvae. I did the survey from 11:30am – 4:00pm, covering about four acres. The spring milkweed is still emerging, as I took note of many small sprouts as I did the survey.
These are the monarch egg count results:
211 milkweed w/0 eggs
156 milkweed w/1 egg
48 milkweed w/2 eggs
6 milkweed w/3 eggs
6 milkweed w/4 eggs
These are the monarch larvae count results:
1st instars: 30
Notes: Some of the milkweed with 0 or some eggs also had one or more larvae. Also, I am sure there are more 1st instar larvae that I did not see. I was cautious about handling the milkweed and the larvae I saw were often hidden in the bud crowns ~ not to mention many were tiny newborns.
It was a cool, cloudy day with temps around 70 degrees F and strong winds from the northwest ~ a cool front moving in this evening. I had lovely encounters with monarchs, including two egg-laying females. I added a few eggs to my tally as one lay eggs on milkweed very near to my hunched over self. We were both checking the milkweed very closely.
This is a photo of one of the 1st instars nibbling on a milkweed leaf. Thankfully, this little one was easy to see!
Latitude: 30.4 Longitude: -95.8
Observed by: Kathy
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