In the last decade of breeding and growing monarch butterflies, I have seen my share of oddities. Out of approximately 600,000 monarchs grown during this time, I have witnessed the occasional mutant monarch and simply set it to the side with marginal interest. However, this time was different. This monarch aberration caught my eye as something of a rare natural beauty. A gem found in the mud. It may not have a dollar value, but in my eyes, the uniqueness of it's markings are priceless. How does something like this happen? Where does it come from? Will I ever see it again?
In early May of 2006, I noticed a few strange looking butterflies emerging from my stock. We are at our peak production during this time of year, so we had about 3000 butterflies emerging each week. For a two week period I noticed this strange, yet beautiful, monarch appearing within my stock. There were about 30 in total. I decided to save a couple males and females and breed them just to see what happened.
Much to my joy, the offspring of these mutants were identical to their parents. This meant that I could continue the line and have as many of these beautiful aberrant monarchs as I desired. One glitch - where would I find the time to do all this additional work? Ughh .. why did these have to emerge during the busiest time of year!