Testing Monarchs for OE
What do infected monarchs look like?
Well, it depends on how heavily infected the monarch is. Many OE infections, especially of eastern North American monarchs, are 'mild' cases, and the infected adult monarch will look and act nearly identical to a healthy adult. Because of this, it's usually impossible to know if they are infected without testing them using the methods described below. Unfortunately, these mildly infected adults can still spread their spores around their cages and rearing containers, which is why it is essential to test all adult monarchs upon eclosion. If it is suspected that a monarch is infected, remove it from the other monarchs immediately.
Below are some pictures of various OE infected monarchs. The monarch in the bottom right image is indeed infected, but appears otherwise normal.
Materials for Testing Monarchs
If you are interested in testing your own butterflies for the OE parasite, you can request a sampling kit by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What comes in a sampling kit:
Blank index cards
Clear tape stickers
Envelopes to send in samples
Monarch Health datasheet
Optional MLMP Instructions
What you will need (not included in kit):
Bleach Mixture: 20% bleach in a washbottle
How to Take an OE Sample
Are the monarchs I sampled infected?
We will examine each of your samples for the presence of parasite spores. Once we have the results, we will notify you of the infection status via email.
To the right is what a sample looks like when we examine it under the microscope.
The red arrows indicate the parasite spores in this image. The big objects are the monarch scales. The spores look like tiny lemon-shaped objects and often clump together. This monarch would be considered heavily infected.
Have a question?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions section or contact us.