The Monarch Monitoring Project is a long-term study on monarch migration through Cape May, NJ. It is a part of the New Jersey Audubon Research Department, and closely affiliated with the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monarchs, Mantids and More?

Today was another exciting day as monarchs are still roosting along Cape May Point!  Tori counted a total of 320 monarchs on the census, while I tagged 60 monarchs today and talked with about a dozen curious onlookers! Thanks for stopping and inquiring what I was doing! Tagging monarchs is fun, but tagging monarchs with an audience is even MORE fun!
Monarchs Roosting this afternoon at Cape & Lincoln Ave

 I also got to talk about monarch predation today as well.  This morning I saw a Praying Mantis eat a monarch. It was SO COOL. Yes, I love monarchs, but I also love biology! I've seen some monarchs caught in webs around town too. Since most people know that birds do not eat monarchs due to the monarch's toxins, I get asked: What is the monarch's predator?  Well, Insects and Spiders are the top two! There are alot of Praying Mantids in Cape May, and I saw two stalking butterflies in the Buddelia around town!  Someone also told me a story of how they found butterfly wings all over their back yard I think this is the work of a hungry mantid too!

This praying mantis has caught its morning monarch meal
The mantid did not eat the abdomen...

...or the wings

This is the first mantid I saw today... a portent?
Or monarch revenge?

Spiders also find monarchs a tasty treat!
This monarch was fortunate and got away!

...AND MORE....

Here are a few other critters I saw today!

Carolina Saddlebags, Tramea carolina

Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia, Larva

Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, Larva

That's all for now!

Keep your eyes on the skies, 'cause that's where the monarch flies! And keep your eyes on the ground, 'cause that's where caterpillars crawl around!

2011 MMP Technician 

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