Posted in Conservation

Firstborn of the nine

Before tucking the Monarch incubator containers under a tea towel for the night so artificial light doesn’t interfere with their sense of direction, I checked them all for dryness and development.

I could see a few teeny black heads forming inside their egg, thought most were still early egg stage.  I misted the ones that needed it.  The misting not only acts as a sort of artificial dew for the egg itself, but it also helps keep the leaf cutting the egg rests on from drying out and curling.  I use rain barrel water in the mister, so I don’t have to worry about water treatment chemicals in tap water harming them.

One had hatched and was still munching away at its egg.  I went outside to cut a young milkweed leaf at the topmost part of one of our plants, and then placed it inside that container so it has more to eat after it finishes eating its egg for the nutrients it offers.  The newly cut leaf should keep it fed for the night if needed before my morning check of the containers.

In the back of mind I know from experience that they are so very tiny at first which makes sense given their egg size.  Thanks to my old fashioned brass hand held magnifying glass, I can make sure when they are fully out of the egg and not just near to hatching. Even if they hatch overnight, there’s no point bringing in fresh leaves on top of the leaf bit the egg is kept on if they’re not out yet.  I’ve not yet ever had a case where an overnight newborn eats both their egg and the entirety of the leaf bit before I do my morning check.

Their size is also why my trying to take a picture of them at this stage would be a fruitless endeavor given my current available cameras.  I’ve tried in the past, and I simply can’t do a worthwhile true close up showing discernible detail.

Care to share thoughts on this?