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monarch cats dying and one failed pupation...

11 years ago

Hi, I don't most much (maybe once or twice a year) but I'm hoping you guys can shed some light on my situation. I have raised monarchs every summer for the past several years and have almost always had good luck. The few sick cats/butterflies I have experienced are usually late in the summer.

I have a tank at the moment with 6 monarchs. I collected a total of 10 eggs over the period of several days in my own milkweed patch. Four cats died around the second instar stage. Two have pupated and the chrysalids appear healthy (no black spots). One went to the top today, made a J and several hours later I noticed green ooze at the top of the cat and black liquid that had been emitted and run down the side of the tank. The other three are 5th instar and should be heading up to make their "J" any time now.

Clearly, there is an issue, but I'm not sure what to do. Should I see what happens with the cats that don't appear sick or should I euthanize all of them since clearly they have all been exposed to whatever illness is in there?

As much as I don't want to euthanize possibly healthy cats/chrysalids, I even more so do not want to release sick butterflies that may *appear* healthy when they eclose.

I'm worried that the FIRST batch of monarchs are sick... what does this foretell about the rest of the season and the health of my milkweed??

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