We are now well into Winter in New Zealand. Summer (in our area) was a strange event this time, with cooler temperatures and the most rain we've ever known. A good gauge for this was our water tank. We collect our own water in a huge 9000L tank. In summer, when it hasn't rained since October, our water runs out by December-January and we have to buy a refill. Then we usually need about two more refills until the rains start again in March-April.
Last summer it kept raining until April and we didn't require a refill until May. We live in a hot part of the country, however our summer temperatures were certainly not as hot as in previous summers.
I observed a difference in the actions of the Monarch Butterflies during this time. To my delight there were more to be seen in our garden than in previous summers. Adding to that, they stayed around longer each day. Perhaps so much rain negatively affected the nectar flowers in our area and ours was one of the few gardens still with flowers for the butterflies? I can only guess.
The rain slowed down in April which is also usually when the Monarchs slow down but not this year. They went on and on, still laying eggs in June. June!!! June is Autumn-Winter here.
So today the Monarch male flew off to his butterfly life after 23 days in the chrysalis.
The norm/average in summer is 10 days in the chrysalis. Because it is flying into Winter, the butterfly must immediately go into diapause (slowing down of its whole system and not mating) until our temperatures warm again. That's what Monarch Butterflies do in New Zealand during Winter. Their body goes into diapause and they cluster together in tall trees. On bright sunny Winter days you can see them flying about about seeking nectar. It's lovely.
Click on the pictures below to see a larger view................