Monarch Butterflies New Zealand- Did You Know?
1. Many butterfly enthusiasts are surprised to discover that monarchs exist across several continents, including the 93% submerged former continent of Zealandia.
New Zealand is not a continent, but a small remaining piece of history.
2. The monarchs’ main food source in New Zealand comes from the Gomphocarpus genus. This includes Giant swan plant and swan plant, milkweed varieties that are also growing in popularity with gardeners (and monarchs) across the U.S.
See Photos and get more info on Giant Swan Plant (Gomphocarpus physocarpus)
See Photos and get more info on Swan Plant (Gomphocarpus fruticosus)
3. No matter how far you travel, you can never escape the dreaded Oleander aphids. The infamous orange milkweed pests torture gardeners worldwide:
10 Ways to Stop Aphids from Taking Over your Milkweed
4. Where do New Zealand monarch butterflies go for the winter?
New Zealand monarchs migrate to local overwintering grounds in more temperate NZ locations including Christchurch and Tauranga Bay. The temperature in these regions doesn’t typically go below 10° C or 50° F.
In the southern hemisphere, summer arrives in late December, and monarch season is in full swing.
5. The Monarch Butterfly Trust of New Zealand Trust was initially formed to protect the Tauranga Bay overwintering site, but has now expanded to support the moth and butterfly populations across New Zealand.
Here is more about the trust and what you can do to help support New Zealand monarchs:
Moth and Butterfly Trust of New Zealand Info
I am looking after a monarch who’s wings are deformed. Just wondering how long do they live for? How often should I feed it.
Hi Linda, if the butterfly is healthy it could live for months. If it deformed due to heavy OE infection, it probably won’t live very long. More info here
Hi. I’ve got 3 swan plants in central Otago that have 6 caterpillars on them. We just had a -4.6 frost today and they are inside now alive. But should I have done that? I don’t want to mess with their cycle. We were shocked we had caterpillars in April to be fair and they haven’t changed yet.
Hi Erin, if there’s frost, you can certainly bring them in to finish raising. Cold temps slow down metamorphosis while warm temps speed it up…they shouldn’t have any issues adjusting if they are healthy.
Hi, we’ve got a monarch butterfly that has just hatched (end of may). Will she survive if we just let fly? Thanks, Izzy
Hi Izzy, if she’s healthy, yes! More info on releasing monarchs here:
Releasing Monarch Butterflies
Hi what do I do with my butterflies once they emerge? Is it best to let them just go outside and leave or can you keep them a day or two? In wanaka nz
Hi Natasha, here’s info about releasing butterflies:
Releasing Monarch Butterflies
I have sooooo many swan plants this year and have so many butterflies hanging around but we are yet to have even a single caterpillar. Does anyone know if I can get caterpillars from somewhere?
Hi Tui, you are in New Zealand? You might want to check with a local resource for some guidance:
Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust
We think our caterpillars are being eaten by paper wasps could that be right??
Hi Pam, I don’t know much about the NZ species of paper wasps, but they’re a big issue in north America so i’d say there’s a pretty good chance you’re right:
13 Monarch Predators
hi, can you please tell me where i can get a blue monarch butterfly plant?
Hi Donna, I think you mean tweedia. I know there are strict laws about sending plants to NZ so you might be better off searching locally. There is info about the plant here and links to find plants/seeds at the bottom of the page:
Tweedia Milkweed Blue Flowers
Hi there – what should I do if a butterfly hatches and it’s wings are still crumpled or mismatched after a couple of days? It can’t fly so it isn’t able to source food or a mate.
Hi Kharyn, sorry to hear about your butterfly. You could keep it as a pet or euthanize if the butterfly is weak/sickly. Here’s more info about feeding adult butterflies if you keep it:
Feeding and Releasing Adult Butterflies
I’ve never had this before, but it looks like I have rust on the stems of my milkweed. What do I do?
Hi Emily, check out this post for more info:
Milkweed Diseases: Treatment and Prevention