What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Monarch
Location: Louisiana
April 7, 2012 2:18 pm
I have monarch caterpillars in my butterfly garden but they all seem to have a problem.Four of them climbed up to my fence and started making their chrysalis then just stopped soon after they split. I am under the understanding that this should only take 10 minutes. I am starting to think they have some kind of parasite but have no idea what to do about it.
Any help would be appreciated. I have a 3 year old that is really excited about them and I just don’t know what to do.
Signature: Thank You

What killed the Monarch???

Many caterpillars have internal parasites that prevent the insect from maturing, but we are unaware of any wasps or flies that prey upon Monarch Caterpillars.  We have seen predators like Predatory Stink Bugs kill Monarch Caterpillars, and the result of the predation looks similar to this since Stink Bugs suck the fluids from the body of the caterpillar.  We are sorry we have no advice to offer.  Perhaps you want to create a habitat for the caterpillars to undergo metamorphosis like this person has done.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Louisiana

4 Responses to What Interrupted the Monarch Metamorphosis???

  1. Edith Smith says:

    According to Dr. Fred Urquhart, this happens when a strand of silk wraps around the caterpillar as it makes its silk pad. He wrote “International Traveler, The Monarch Butterfly”. There is some doubt about this being the only reason as some people, like the reader that wrote here, find a large percentage of them in a small group to whom this will happen. There are many wasps and flies, both parasitoids and predators, that eat Monarch caterpillars and pupae. http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/butterflyparasitoids.php http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/caterpillarpredators.php None of them cause a problem like these that only partially pupated.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you so much for this informative comment. It would be interesting to learn why there is such a preponderance of this phenomenon in this particular population of Monarch Caterpillars. The silk strand theory would explain an isolated event, but not the repetition that has been observed by the person who submitted this photograph.

  2. onafixedincome says:

    There is a nasty bacterial infection all too common in Monarch caterpillars–actually there are two. http://monarchparasites.uga.edu/whatisOE/ describes the parasite which can kill them in the chrysalis. This FAQ from the old Garden Web site does a nice job of describing the bacterial (Pseudomonas) and viral (Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus) causes of ‘Black Death’ of monarchs. Hope that helps!

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