The Enid Oklahoma Monarch Butterfly Monitoring Page

Right now, I'm just setting up this new page devoted exclusively for posting stuff about the monarch butterflies in Enid, Oklahoma.  I've made a number of attempts to make a current inventory for the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project of the University of Minnestota's, and situations simply change on a daily basis, and I've got videos of 1st instars that disappeared the same day they were observed.  There's a lot of predation going on, it seems, so keeping track of a rapidly changing situation is daunting and so on this page I'll post the pics (and maybe vids if Blogger will permit) that will be of stuff observed at one time but gone the next, as well as what successfully gets logged for MLMP data.

Tussock moth--also lays eggs on milkweeds.

Hard to see but there's a black ambush spider lying in wait on the dark bar.

Where the ambush spider is.

Another type of ambush spider.

Grub among aphids, spelling trouble for the grub when the tending ants find out.  They'll kill it. But that's not a monarch grub--that's a syrphid fly maggot.

Ants know that syrphid fly maggots prey on their precious aphids, and they're having none of this one.

A number of other insects breed on the honeyvine, like the insect that preys on the aphids that these ants are typically looking for, and protecting: the lacewing.  Here's what those eggs look like:

Case closed: Monarchs DO lay eggs on honeyvine. There's a website out there which calls this plant a Sand Vine.

This and the following photos were taken just this morning.  And they're DEFINITELY monarchs!

Partially eaten egg case, but baby is nowhere in sight.

Monarch egg about to hatch.

Sunday Sept. 6 UPDATE: I've discovered, much to my dismay, that I cannot add separate blog entries to this separate page.  I can only add to this single page, so be forewarned: this is gonna grow to one very long page when it's all been said and done to the end of the season.  Here's what was observed today, and I'll keep adding to today's observations on an ongoing basis.

My ladies are NOT happy. They've been soliciting, and no guy has shown interest. But there aren't any guys around to see the solicitations, either. What's going on?

Well, in doing some online reading about monarch habits, there was a Monarch Science blog about how peculiar it was for migration season being dominated by males at the tagging stations, for cryin' out loud, and the scientists don't know what to make of the very low number of ladies who show up at those tagging stations.  Well!  Now I know why my ladies are unhappy and why I haven't seen a male in over a week. I'm calling SHENANIGANS!

October mini-UPDATE: a LOT has transpired since the above entries on this page and I have a LOT of catching up to do, including posting vids and pics of the 3 kids I have left, all three of which are currently pupating.  I had 4 but its chrysalis was inadequately silked and I inadvertently dropped the poor thing, upon which it just burst.  But I will have to begin at the beginning of the long story as to how all that came to pass, because it came to pass after I had presumed that the season was over.  I did have to consult with an MLMP expert on this via email to figure out what it was I was looking at, exactly, but since these 3 kids will prospectively achieve adulthood toward the end of October, I've prepared special tags for them as well as a special Google beacon entry in the main body of the blog in the event someone manages to net any of these kids after I set 'em loose, even so late in the season as this.  Stay tuned by all means.

October 19 Monday Monarch UPDATE: I updated the beacon post first with this news, and so I now post this here, and there will be additional pictures/vids posted as those get processed.  My oldest pupa has now emerged and it's definitely a female.  It also means I'm going to have to backtrack on this blog entry to log every detail and photo of the process.  It's just going to take time.

By early afternoon, as I said on my beacon entry on the main blog, she was tagged and ready for take-off. One out the door, two more to go.  In the interrim I'm going to have to go over all my previous footage of the transformation and manage a chronological retracing of events.

UPDATE: Yep, October is almost over and I still haven't gotten caught up yet--too much stuff happening all at once over here.  I can clue you in to some of it, though, like using these monarch shots to come up with a monarch calendar and greeting cards, for instance.  Here's a set of images I've worked on for this purpose...scaled down for the blog, of course.  The printer gets the full size high quality version.

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