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Monarch Butterflies By: Tanya Rothe

Monarch butterflies are such a magnificent sight to see, especially if you have never seen one before.  They are beautiful, vibrant, and seem to float through the air as if there wasn’t a trouble in the world.  They are also known to be the most colorful out of all the butterflies.  One very interesting fact is that the fourth generation of the monarch butterfly migrates during the cold season to get somewhere warm and hibernate.  The younger generations are unable to do this due to their short lifespan of only 6 weeks after the cocoon stage.  If you would like to find a successful way to attract monarchs to your area, plant a bunch of milkweed seeds around your home and yard.  They lay hundreds of eggs each spring and the larvae enjoy the plant for their daily meal.  You will even find the actual monarch butterfly sunbathing on a leaf or two.

Monarch Butterfly Photos & Pictures



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This beautiful creature goes through 4 stages during its life cycle including egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly.  If you have the chance, do the research on how to rear butterflies and do it yourself.  It truly is a sight to see and the little ones if you have them will love watching the life cycle themselves firsthand.  The best part is when you set the monarch free; you’re setting free a life you helped to create.  It’s amazing.  Their defense mechanism against predators is actually quite interesting.  When they are in the caterpillar stage, they eat a lot of the milkweed plant.  In turn, throughout their lifespan there is a poison from the plant that builds up in their systems that they are able to kill their attackers with once they become an adult monarch butterfly.  It can’t hurt humans, but is a great defense against other buggy things.

Interesting Monarch Butterfly Facts:

Name: Monarch Butterfly
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Habitat: Warm temperatures, near milkweed plants
Diet: milkweed, nectar, water, fruit juices, smashed bananas, oranges and watermelons.
Behavior: calm, yet protective of young.
Reproduction: lay hundreds of eggs on milkweed plants so they ingest poison to ward off predators, eggs turn into caterpillars; caterpillars turn into cocoon, and then come out as butterfly.
Predators: cold weather, wetness on wings, ants, spiders and wasps eat eggs, birds.
Life Expectancy: first three generations live up to 6 weeks, later generations up to 8 months.



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