September 17, 2019

The Late Bloomer

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Can you see it?

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How about now?

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Yes, that's right; it's a monarch caterpillar. I believe it's a fourth instar, which means it probably has about a week left as a caterpillar, and then about two weeks in its chrysalis. This would put it at about the second week of October for its flight to Mexico.

This is not unheard of here at the 43rd parallel, but this little buddy is definitely a late bloomer. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate to give it warmth and cooperative winds for a successful journey south.

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My neighbor is a teacher, and I gave her three other caterpillars for her classroom, which the students named Jeffrey, Gus, and Spike. I also handed off this little guy/gal: I wonder what they'll name it?

Stay tuned: I'll keep you posted on the progress of Jeffrey, Gus, Spike, and the late bloomer.

UPDATE:
  • Jeffrey was indeed a male (there was discussion of renaming him Jennifer Lopez if a female, but no need). RELEASED
  • Gus was a female, so her full name is Augustina. RELEASED
  • Spike was a female and was set free in front of all the 4th and 5th graders at the school. RELEASED
  • The late bloomer, named "Youngblood" by the students, formed its chrysalis on Monday, 9/23.

28 comments:

  1. This does seem a bit late. However if your weather is anything like ours you won't have to worry about it. It has been in the 90s here the past week and it is to stay quite warm for some time. I am ever hopeful the weather will cool down some soon. It will be interesting to hear if the Monarch completes its metamorphosis so it can wing it South.

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    1. Yes, we've been unusually warm. A little cooler next week, but still mild for this time of year. So maybe the little buddy has plenty of time. :)

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  2. Looks like swamp milkweed?? I grew some from seed and, together with one I received at a hort. society event, I have 3 in the garden this year (finally!). They are a bit sparse, but I'm hoping they fill out next year. I always get worried about those late bloomers - fingers crossed for a late start to the cooler weather.

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    1. Yes, it is Swamp Milkweed. It took a couple of seasons to get going in the shadier part of my garden, but it's loving the sunny garden. The blooms are pretty, too, and they attract other pollinators, as well.

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    1. I know, and I'm getting updates, which I'll share soon. :)

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  4. Better late than never! There'd be plenty of time still here. My recollection is that the cloudless sulphur caterpillars show up after the Senna's bloom cycle is well underway and, as that's pending (in my own garden anyway), I may see some yet this year. I hope so.

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    1. Most years, I'd say it would be touch and go. But our extended forecast is unusually mild this year. Senna is so beautiful! I hope you'll see some cloudless sulphurs!

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  5. Gosh, he/she really is late. I hope the weather cooperates, but Mexico is a long way from Wisconsin! I'll say 'hi' if it comes through my garden.

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    1. The extended forecast is looking mild, so that's good. I'll post updates when I get them from my neighbor. :)

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  6. I was listening to the Milwaukee Brewer Game on the radio. A lady in Ely MN texted the booth to share she hatched 7 monarchs today. She named one Bob Uecker. Today, I saw so many monarch in the garden, it was so exciting and a happy sight because we have had some gloomy weather.
    Yes, please do keep us posted on the late bloomer.
    Carla

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    1. So fun when folks name them. :) Apparently this is a good year for them. Hopefully, the entire season (through winter in Mexico) will cooperate!

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  7. Wonderful that the children will get to see the caterpillar become a butterfly!
    Have a great day!

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    1. Yes, they've seen two emerge already! I'll post updates. :)

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  8. Jeez! I hope it stays warm on the way down to Mexico.

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    1. The extended forecast is looking relatively mild, so that will help!

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  9. Very awesome! Hope it makes its way down south in time!

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    1. Me, too! The forecast is looking good. Fingers crossed!

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  10. Mother Nature loves to hedge her bets. Hatching over a long period insures against the unexpected.

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    1. Yes, that's true. I've had late ones in the past and it was hard to find a good launch day. But our extended forecast looks relatively mild. :)

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  11. How great is that! Best wishes for this late one, and I know the kids will be thrilled when it becomes a butterfly.

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    1. I know! It's so wonderful when young folks get excited about nature and the circle of life. They named the late bloomer "Youngblood." :)

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  12. Such creative names!
    No problems with the weather if they decided to fly through Tennessee. It is still hot, dry and miserable.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. The kids are very creative. :) We are still warm here, too, but cooler temperatures are in the forecast. Hopefully, "Youngblood" (the late bloomer) will have some bright, sunny days for release and flight!

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  13. I love that you named them! I've never done that. The Monarchs have been thick in my Oklahoma woods and prairie. I wish you could be here with me to photograph them. ~~Dee

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  14. hahaha, love that they named them. I have a big growth now of the host plant of Tirumala ishmoides, also a tiger cousin of your monarch. Its pupa is of the same shape. I have discovered the plant a few years back and got interested because the flowers look like hoyas, also of the same family. Then lately, i discovered it to be the host of our Blue Glassy Tiger. I have also documented already its life cycle. I guess its life cycle is more interesting than the monarch because the larvae have variations.

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