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The Lesser Wanderer

I raise Monarch Butterflies in my garden. They are easy to raise from caterpillars to Butterfly in New Zealand and you only need Milkweed in your garden to raise them. The most common plant we use in New Zealand is  the “Swan Plant”. There are some other varieties of milkweed in New Zealand.

Then I found a very strange caterpillar on my Swan plant out doors. I was quite worried because we recently had a scare about the Apple Moth and how the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture was trying to get rid of it because it threatened our Apple growing and other countries would not accept our Apples if there was any Apple Moth to be found.

This is my very strange Caterpillar on my Swan Plant. After looking it up on the Internet and consulting a butterfly specialist Jackie Knight, I found out it is called, “The Lesser Wanderer”. Jackie was very interested in this butterfly.

As you can see it is like but unlike my Monarch caterpillars.

This is a Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar with the hatched Lesser Wanderer on a Swan Plant head. It is called a Swan Plant because inside this seed head is another part which is shaped like a Swan Head.

I watched over the Monarch Wanderer as it grew and changed into a Chrysalis.

There are 2 Monarch Butterfly Chrysali and one Lesser Wanderer Chrysalis. It’s the smallest on the end .

The Lesser Wanderer turns pink, the other Monarch butterfly Chrysalis emerge green. All of the Chrysalis turn and change colour as the butterfly grows inside it. You can see the markings of the wings forming inside these Chrysalis as they continue to grow.

The time of Butterfly hatching is dependant on the weather. The warmer it is, the quicker it grows and hatches. Well, no one told me, but I learnt this by observation.

Colour of the Lesser Wanderer Chrysalis changes as it grows.

As the Chrysalis matures the Chrysalis looks as if it turns black on both the Lesser Wanderer and the Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis. If you look closely you will see the true colour of the Butterfly wings emerging.

Here is a closer look at that.

But wait, the Butterfly is about to hatch…Never try to help a butterfly hatching, it simply won’t survive or it may end up by being deformed. For some reason this post is not accepting more pictures so be sure to read part 2.

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Written by Pamela Moresby

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