Rainbows and butterflies

The weather is changing. We are supposed to have fairly warm temperatures for another week or so, but the leaves have mostly fallen with the winds and rains that have been passing through. It's late October and you can feel it. November is waiting for her turn to shine. 

I complain about the cold, about ice, about having to shovel snow, or fight with bad weather. But deep inside of me, I cherish each season for many reasons, even the reasons I don't like. There are many cold blustery days I wake up and inside secretly I'm thrilled... I know I will keep everyone in the barn tucked away, I'll feed them and come back in the house and put a big pot of stew on the stove, I'll knead some dough for fresh bread, and snuggle up by the wood stove with the dogs and a book. I love those days, just as much as I love walking outside on a spring morning to a hot sun shining down on my face. 

I love this time of year, the change. I think it's a mixture between loving the changing of the season but also the security of knowing what is coming... knowing the patterns and their consistency. The seasons will change no matter what else does or does not... You can count on that.

We found this butterfly a couple of weeks ago. Kevin brought him to me because he found that the butterfly was unable to fly. We noticed his wings were all folded over at the top and figured there must be some way to straighten them, maybe they would do it naturally on their own.

I put him in a jar and gave him some food, and then begin researching what could cause this. After examining him, I could see that the wings could not be made straight. I found a decent amount of information on Monarch's with folded wings... and the news wasn't good.

I found this below to be the general theme of the information and I hope this is not something that is spreading around through the milkweed here - it's the first butterfly we've found like this and next year I will be looking very closely for further signs in our population, which hopefully, I won't find... We have a lot of butterflies here because we have an abundance of milkweed on our land...

I found other websites from people who raise Monarch's and they said this was indeed a parasite problem.

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.

I hope this guy made it, I let nature take it's course. I felt in the end best not to interfere. A lot of sites said to euthanize the butterfly - but I did not do that. Nature always knows what's best and it wasn't my place to make decisions for her in this case. You never know, maybe the butterfly did indeed fly away. 


jaz@octoberfarm said…
i could never live in a place that did not have noticeable 4 seasons. though i love fall and winter, i love a change every 4 months. poor butterfly..i like to think somehow it survived.
Primitive Stars said…
Hi...the Monarchs are so beautiful........we enjoyed so many here this year.....couldn't believe it......a simple joy......Blessings Francine
It's hard on the small creatures.

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