egg stage, monarch butterfly

At the egg stage the Monarch is at one of its most vulnerable steps in its life, as the egg does not contain milkweed toxins yet. It is therefore an easy prey to ants and other insects or arthropods. The female lays one single egg per spot, usually under a leaf. It can lay several hundreds of eggs after mating a number of times. Here’s what the eggs look like when freshly laid:

Monarch Butterfly egg on Butterfly Milkweed new shoot - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg on Butterfly Milkweed new shoot – © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg under Swamp Milkweed leaf - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg under Swamp Milkweed leaf – © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg on Butterfly Milkweed stem - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg on Butterfly Milkweed stem – © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly eggs on middle part of Swamp Milkweed - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly eggs on middle part of Swamp Milkweed – © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg on Swamp Milkweed leaf top - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly egg on Swamp Milkweed leaf top – © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly eggs on Swamp Milkweed leaves - © Denise Motard
Monarch Butterfly eggs on Swamp Milkweed leaves – © Denise Motard

The above photos were taken not long after the eggs were laid on June 17.

HOW LONG?
Eggs are ‘supposed’ to hatch after 3 to 8 days. However on day 8 only ONE egg hatched, and two more (from what I was able to see) on day 9. I can see a few eggs turning grey, where we can actually see the caterpillar black head through (see photos below). Many eggs are still white. We did have some rain and cool weather, so this has an impact.

WHERE?
All the eggs were laid singly, which increases chances of survival. Many of them were laid ON the leaf, not under. A tiny few were laid on stems. All the eggs I could spot (about two dozen) were laid on plants with flower buds, not younger plants.

Monarch egg to hatch soon, see black caterpillar head at top - © Denise Motard
Monarch egg to hatch soon, see black caterpillar head at top – © Denise Motard
Monarch caterpillar head visible through egg shell - © Denise Motard
Monarch caterpillar head visible through egg shell – © Denise Motard

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