Butterflies and Praying Mantis

The summer of 2014/15 I decided to grow some insect friendly plants such as Queen Anne's Lace, Swan plants and let the stinging nettle run wild among an area I had designated for insects and butterflies. The Queen Anne's Lace, I read, is a host plant for friendly insects which feed on aphids etc. I already grew a few pants to encourage butterflies but decided to add to the species.

Stinging nettle is the host plant for our New Zealand native Red (Vanessa gonerilla) and Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea) butterflies. This one in the photo is a Yellow and I noticed three on a pink Dahlia plant. They have been multiplying since I allowed stinging nettle to grow in patches.

A beautiful Monarch butterfly happily drinking nectar from a NZ Native Broom bush.
I think there have been three generations over the summer of Monarchs.

This video was taken by Lucie Martin and shows how fast a Monarch caterpillar can eat.

click here for a better view on your computer.

Video of a newly hatched butterfly stretching its wings.

Swan plants are necessary for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Right: I cut three branches from the Swan plants that had chrysallis' on them and brought them inside as a frost was a real possibility after a very cold antarctic blast dumped eary snow on the mountains (April 14, 2015).
A Monarch butterfly just emerged from its Chrysalis.

Three photos, the first is a caterpillar making its chrysalis, the second is the same just completed and the third is a chrysalis about to hatch.

This is our New Zealand native Praying Mantis. When I first noticed it I was very worried that it would be eating my Monarch caterpillars. But once I found out that it was a New Zealand native Praying Mantis I was pleased and hope it does well.

I caught this one in a jar and when it tried to climb out the blue spot was clearly seen. I had found the blue spot very hard to see when it was on the Swan plant. I was told that this one was pregnant.

This is the egg case of a Praying Mantis. The female lays them in batches and they are called ootheca.
For some good information go to: Lincoln University and T.E.R.R.A.I.N.