More Monarchs Butterflies Appear, Yet Are Really Worn And Torn



We’ve had around 7-8 “new” Monarch Butterflies arrive withing the last two days, but they definitely weren’t new.  These poor Butterflies were as torn and worn as I’ve ever seen in Monarchs.

Take a look at the male Monarch in the picture below.  He has that torn upper wing and had difficulty flying from flower to flower.

Male Monarch With Torn Wing On Pink Zinnia

Male Monarch With Torn Wing On Pink Zinnia

Then the next day he was back flying over the Zinnias and battling other males.  I can’t imagine this guy would ever make it to Mexico, but what do I know.

Male Monarch With Torn Wing On Orange Zinnia

Male Monarch With Torn Wing On Orange Zinnia

The male in the pictures above wasn’t the most damaged Monarch that came to visit.  Check out this one on the pink Zinnia.  It’s missing a whole bunch of different parts of both wings, but that’s not the worst.

Tattered Monarch On Pink Zinnia

Tattered Monarch On Pink Zinnia

Have a look at this poor thing when it has its wings spread.  Look the male in the previous photographs, I can’t imagine this Monarch making it all the way to Mexico in this condition.

Very Tattered Monarch With Wings Spread On Pink Zinnia

Very Tattered Monarch With Wings Spread On Pink Zinnia

It’s not all bad news.  We did have some “newer” looking Monarchs appear as well.  This male appeared later in the afternoon.  He was drawn to this red Zinnia that has a little bit of Maggie’s (our Golden Retriever) hair in the middle.  We also counted 15 Monarch caterpillars on the different Milkweed plants throughout the backyard.  We’re letting them stay outdoors since the weather has been so nice.

Monarch On Red Zinnia With Dog Hair In Middle

Monarch On Red Zinnia With Dog Hair In Middle

One last thing and I’d like to hear thoughts from others that tag Monarchs.  The last few days I’ve decided not to tag Monarchs.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One, some of these Monarchs are so torn up I didn’t want to even attempt to try and attach a sticker to their wing.  The second reason (and this is the part I’m curious on what others have to say) is that it seems tagging these Monarchs causes them a little stress.  We’ve noticed that in many of the Monarchs we tag don’t come back to the yard after we tag them.  The ones we don’t tag frequent the yard for a few days.  I’m thinking that as much as these Monarchs need nectar for their flight to Mexico (especially this year), I don’t want to stress them out and have them struggle to find other nectar sources when I have so much in my yard.

What do you think?  Have you observed Monarchs being stressed from tagging?  How do you think it affects them?

Valerie Evanson - Our tagged ones sometimes stick around for a few days, especially the gravid females. I suppose the scientists would want them all tagged, but I’d question tagging the really poor looking ones.November 7, 2011 – 8:01 am

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