Raising Monarchs in Hawaii

by Greg Knudsen
(Honolulu, Hawaii)

Six in One Day!

Six in One Day!

I've been raising Monarchs for a few years in Hawaii, where the caterpillars only eat Crown Flower leaves (we don't have milkweed). Sometimes it's hard to find a sufficient supply. This year (2009) I've raised about 60. On January 9, six emerged within minutes of each other (see photo).

I've posted some videos on YouTube you might enjoy. The most popular is "Monarch Butterfly Emerging" here.

Another fun and amazing one is "Caterpillar to Pupa - Gone in 30 Seconds" -- the metamorphosis speeded up more than 6x its actual time here.

Or a slower version, "Caterpillar Pupates - Alien Transformation!" (only 2x speed) here.

You can tell that pupation is about to begin when the caterpillar's antennae become limp and lifeless, and metamorphosis is just moments away when it stretches out of its "J" formation and the body starts pulsating. The whole process is fascinating.


Karen's Reply:
Wow, it's great to hear from a Monarch Butterfly fan in Hawaii! I wonder how the Monarch Butterflies ended up in Hawaii?? Thanks for your youtube links. Check out my video of a monarch butterfly emerging here.

Comments for
Raising Monarchs in Hawaii

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How did monarchs get to Hawaii?
by: natalie Speedracer

How did the monarchs get here and why do you raise them?

Milkweeds in Hawaii
by: Anonymous

While Crown Flower is certainly the most well-known kind of Asclepias in the state, we DO have other milkweeds here. Most notably, we have Chinese Violet, Bloodflower, Silky Gold Milkweed, Goose Milkweed/Balloon Plant, Giant Calotrope, and Apple of Sodom/Roostertree, which I feed my classroom caterpillars.

Karen says:
Thanks for the great information on asclepias in Hawaii! Do your caterpillars have a favorite of the plants?

Monarch Butterflies
by: Alisha

Female Monarch Butterflies deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. Monarch butterflies are the milkweed butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. Really beautiful. The male is also slightly larger. The Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle and through the four generations in one year. It is a little confusing. The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle are the egg, the larvae, the pupa, and the adult butterfly.

Incredible Metamorphosis in Hawaii
by: mauikai34

I am thrilled to have discovered this site! Monarch butterflies are remarkable creatures, even in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, in the northeast town of Kailua!

It has been about five years since I have cultivated the interest in the incredible metamorphosis of the caterpillar. We have an appearance of Monarchs already, and it is still January! I usually harvest an abundant number of eggs in March, April,and May. Last year, I had a small crop in September and October. Amazing creatures, indeed!


Big Island Monarchs
by: Adriane

My name is Adriane and I work with Southwest Monarch Study in tagging Monarchs in Arizona.
I was recently visiting big Island and saw lots of monarchs.

I realize that Hawaii Monarchs don't migrate but in teaching a person how to tag Monarchs, we tagged 5 monarchs near the Kmart near Makala Poa Street.

Be on the lookout for blue tags that have email address and # on it - if you find one it will tell us how far they might travel on the island. Not sure if anyone else on island is tagging.
My friend will be out again next weekend to see if some are still there.
My email is ah5150@yahoo.com

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