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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on the Monarchs & Imperial Moth Larvae

Imperial Moth larvaeHello! Just a few Monarchs have been seen consistently during each car census run this week. For the past couple of days, the winds coming out of the south and east, as well as the overcast weather, have prevented the Monarchs from coming to Cape May in any greater numbers thus far. We are looking forward to north winds, which the Monarch will exploit to carry them southwards towards us without any additional expenditure of energy on the their long journey to the overwintering sites.

Quite soon, there will be Monarch larvae munching away in the terrariums at the Cape May Bird Observatory! In the mean time, stop by the CMBO to check out the enormous Imperial Moth larvae that a local moth-er brought it. These particular larvae are gorging themselves on sweet gum, although they will also feed on other trees. It is very important for these guys to eat as much as possible because as adult moths, they will not eat! Quite soon, these larvae will bury themselves in the leaf litter and pupate, spending the winter protected in the ground. (See for more information.)

Other species seen this week include Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (including an enormous individual with wingspan ~6 inches), Spicebush Swallowtail, Painted Lady (in great numbers!), American Lady, Cloudless Sulphur, Common Buckeye, and Long-tailed Skipper.

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