Strange Butterflies Reported at Goose Pond Sanctuary

Monarch tagging is underway at Goose Pond Sanctuary, with sessions happening on September 9 and 16. Nearly 100 monarchs were tagged on the 9th, but in the morning session, the strangest species of butterflies appeared...

 She might look innocent, but she has her eye on something....  (Maddie Dumas, Goose Pond Sanctuary land manager, and Jim Otto, MAS volunteer). Photo by Arlene Koziol

She might look innocent, but she has her eye on something.... (Maddie Dumas, Goose Pond Sanctuary land manager, and Jim Otto, MAS volunteer). Photo by Arlene Koziol

A rare Danaus plexippus gigantus maddius was captured at Madison Audubon Goose Pond Sanctuary. Fortunately master butterfly scooper Jim Otto spotted the maddius. He approached it slowly, gave a war cry, then swept the net forward quickly and captured the maddius before it landed on the terrified Everett Reetz.

Danaus plexippus gigantus maddius captured.jpg

The maddius is a species of special concern in Wisconsin and has never been sited in Columbia County. [Story by Arlene Koziol]

Then, imagine our surprise when in the afternoon session, these incredible specimens fluttered out to the prairie!

 Giant monarch twins feasting on showy goldenrod.  Photo by Mark Martin

Giant monarch twins feasting on showy goldenrod. Photo by Mark Martin

Monarchs seem to be getting larger to cope with climate change. Twin female monarchs (Danaus plexippus gigantus) visited Goose Pond Sanctuary Saturday afternoon September 9th on their migration to Mexico.

Mark was lucky to photograph a monarch releasing a monarch (probably should be submitted to the Guinness book of World Records). 

  Photo by Mark Martin

Photo by Mark Martin

He also found the monarchs nectaring on showy goldenrod just before Sharon Brancel tried to net them. When we attempted to tag them, we learned they had already been tagged at birth, and were named Lisa Vetter Boyd and Heidi Vetter. [Story by Mark Martin and Susan Foote-Martin]

  Photo by Mark Martin

Photo by Mark Martin