Tag Archives: who do Monarchs mate late


Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or becoming an underwriter, to bring our Monarch Butterfly documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly to American Public Television. To Learn More go here and to DONATE go hereThank you!

If mailing a contribution, please include your email address and please address to:

Beauty on the Wing c/o Kim Smith

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Gloucester, MA 01930


Good Morning Monarch Friends!

Tonight’s the Night! Thank you in advance to all who are planning to come tonight, and thank you to all our butterfly friends who would like to come but can’t attend. I am so appreciative and grateful of your kind support and good wishes!

We are Over the Moon about being part of the Boston Film Festival. The BFFestival is running now through September 27th. For more information about the Festival please go here. Our deepest thanks goes to Robin Dawson, Executive Director of the BFF, for creating tonight’s wonderful screening event, and to Rockport Music’s Michelle Alekson for all her behind the scenes organizing at the Shalin Liu.

A reminder to get outdoors to a meadow or marsh if you can – there are so many beautiful species of butterflies on the wing during the Monarch’s migration throughout the months of September and early October. See my blog for recent photos of the especially vibrant Orange Sulphur Butterfly.

Happy September Butterfly Days!

Please join us tonight for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30. Masks are required to be worn at all times while in the hall. For more information go here. Presented by the Boston Film Festival and Rockport Music.


Please join us for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu on Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm. I hope to see you there! Masks are required to be worn at all times while in the hall. For more information go here. Presented by the Boston Film Festival and Rockport Music.

Unusual, but not unheard of, every year during the Monarch’s annual southward migration, I come across a pair, sometimes two, that are mating. This year was no exception. The butterflies apparently did not get the 411 that they are supposed to be migrating, not mating!

The Monarchs that eclose (emerge from their chrysalides) at the end of the summer are the Methuselah Monarchs, or a super generation of Monarchs. These Super Monarchs eclose in a state of sexual immaturity, or diapause. Rather than expending energy looking for a mate and egg laying, they spend all their days drinking nectar and building their fat reserves for the long journey south. They are often a bit larger than their counterparts that emerge earlier in the summer and they are biologically oriented to fly southward. Methuselah Monarchs live about eight months, nearly eight times longer than the spring and early summer Monarchs. They are called Methuselah Monarchs  after the Biblical patriarch who is said to have lived 969 years.

While joined together, abdomen to abdomen, the mating Monarchs flew into a neighboring tree.

Occasionally though individuals are reproductively active. I often wondered what happens to the Monarchs that mate in September. Do they lay eggs, will the eggs hatch, and will the caterpillars complete metamorphosis?

Female Monarch depositing eggs on Common Milkweed, September 13, 2021

The first question has been answered. A beautiful female, apparently newly emerged, with vibrant fully intact wings, arrived in our garden and laid dozens and dozens of eggs. I  placed many, but not all, of the eggs in our terrariums. Will these eggs hatch? We’ll know within the next week or so. I’ll keep you posted on these late September babes. If they go through their entire life cycle, they won’t be ready to fly off for another five weeks or thereabouts. The butterflies most likely will not make it to Mexico, but may journey as far as Florida, where they will spend the cooler months.

Four eggs on one leaf!