Monarch Butterfly OE Parasite

by Cindy
(Swartz Creek, Michigan)

We have had several caterpillars with a fluid coming out of them. Also two deformed chrysilias. what could cause this. Also one butterfly that was struggling. They have been destroyed humanely.

Karen says:
It could be some kind of parasite problem.... tachinid or braconid wasp. OE or Ophryocystis elektroscirrha is another parasite which only affects milkweed butterflies but I thought usually it is the chrysalis or butterfly which is visually affected (I could be wrong on this). OE is spread from spores on the milkweed to pupa, then butterfly and egg. Monarchs that emerge with OE often have wings which are weak and aren't properly formed along with other problems and usually die. The chrysalis can also show signs of being infected with uneven darker spots showing through the chrysalis.

Make sure and sterilize everything you are using to raise the butterflies with a 20% bleach solution, otherwise the spores could spread and infect any future monarchs that you raise.


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How can I help to fix folded wings?

by Melissa Hawley
(Port St. Lucie, FL)

here is one of them...

here is one of them...

We have 2 monarchs in our yard that hatched with folded wings. The wings are dry but they are unable to fly because they are folded. Is this something that can rectify itself? Will they ever be able to fly? They hatched yesterday afternoon and right now they are in our patio in a safe box with pentas, verbena & milkweed to feed on. What can I do?

Karen says:
See information on OE above.

Also, check out the comment at the bottom of this page to see information from one of my readers.

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Is our monarch dead it has been in a black chrysalis for 4 weeks?

We have been watching a monarch turn into a chrysalis. It has turned black and is loosely hanging. It has been about 4 weeks with no change. Is the butterfly dead?

Karen says:
In my experience, healthy monarchs always emerge withing a day or two of turning black. My guess is that it is dead from a parasite, virus or something. Information on OE can be found above.

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Monarch's with OE

by Mary Oppman
(Dunedin, florida)

Can I use the perfect wings of a butterfly infected with OE to repair a missing wing of a healthy Monarch?

Karen says:
No I wouldn't do that because OE spreads very easily.

Check out this interesting link on repairing a monarch wing.

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Monarchs Emerge and Fall to the Ground

by Lisa
(Southwest Florida)


We received the Butterfly Garden as a gift. The monarch caterpillars all attached to the top and after emerging several promptly fell to the floor. We tried using a washcloth and holding them upside down for hours but their wings were either broken or deformed. What can we place in the container to help them if they fall or prevent this from happening? Any suggestion would help.

Thank you.

Karen says:

Check out the OE information above.

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Emerging monarchs falling off to bottom of cage before wings are formed

I have been trying to rear butterflies for about 3 years. This year we had a lot of predators so I used the method of putting each caterpillar in a clear cup with netting over the top held on with a rubber band. The caterpillars will climb up to the top when ready and make a chrysalis in the middle of the netting. Then you just wait until they hatch. This has worked before, but this year about 3/4 of them are falling to the bottom of the cup before the wings are fully developed and just ending up in a crumpled heap. Any suggestions why and what to do about it?
Linda

Karen says:
OE information can be found above.

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Our Monarch Butterfly Died!

by Rebecca
(Michigan)

Our family acquired a monarch caterpillar recently and watched the whole process as it successfully became a butterfly - very exciting! Unfortunately, 2 days after emerging, it has died! We are so upset and wondered what went wrong. We had the butterfly contained in one of those pop-up netted laundry containers. There was fresh watermelon, which he did eat from, and butterfly bush stalks in water in the enclosure. This morning the butterfly was laying on the floor of the enclosure, dead. Any ideas as to why this happens?

Karen says:
Did the butterfly appear sick? Was it able to fly? If it seemed healthy and could fly, I am not sure what could have happened. If it seemed sick it could have had OE, a parasite that affects monarch butterflies. I guess I would recommend releasing the butterfly a few hours after it emerges next time (that's what I do). Maybe one of my other visitors might have an idea what happened with your butterfly.

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