Monarch Butterfly

The Butterfly Garden Guidebook

The Butterfly Garden Guidebook

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There are several species of butterflies. Probably one of the most famous of them all is the monarch butterfly. It is found in several parts of Europe including New Zealand and Australia. They are usually the first choice by people who are maintaining a butterfly garden.

It has several characteristics that are unique to their species. One of these is their being foul-tasting and poisonous. Any predator which is unable to tolerate its deadly poison will surely die. Their bright colors during their caterpillar stages and adult stage are a visible warning sign that they should not be eaten. The monarch butterfly’s poison is caused by feeding on milkweeds. Their usual predators are birds. Among them are Cardinals, Sparrows, Scrub Jays, Brown Thrashers, Grackles, Robins, and Pinyon Jays.

One would not surely miss these creatures because they have a wingspan of 3 and a half to four inches which is commonly colored orange and black. A male monarch butterfly may be distinguished from the female by looking at the sex-scales on its hind wings. The males have black patch on that part and at the same time nd the black veins on its wing are narrower than that of the female monarch butterfly. Usually the bigger ones are the males.

Another distinguishing fact about a monarch butterfly is it’s one of the few insects capable of transatlantic crossings. They migrate from one place to another which sometimes exceeds its normal lifespan which is two months.

Mating season for these butterflies happens prior to their migration. They lay their eggs on spring where flowers bloom and there is plenty to feed on especially for the young ones. Female lay their ridged, spherical eggs singly on the underside of milkweed leaves. There is nothing unique in the development of a monarch butterfly from other butterflies. They passed as eggs, caterpillar, pupa and finally adult stage. During the egg stage, it looks like a Spherical, ridged and white object. In caterpillar stage, it looks like a worm only bigger and hair and has white, black and orange. It has three pairs of thoracic legs and five pairs of prolegs. It has two pair of sensory tentacles, one on the head the other on the other end. In its pupa stage, it remains hidden inside the cocoon for 10 to 14 days and once its wings finally dry which is usually in the morning, it is ready to get out as an adult with wings.

Just like any other animal and insects, the said butterfly is also in danger due to massive deforestation of its overwintering grounds. Luckily they have been proclaimed by authorities as protected species thus actions were taken in order to restore their habitat and to increase their numbers. The great news about the sanctuaries put up by the people for these insects are generating income because many tourists visit the place to see these colorful insects personally.

Butterflies are fascinating creatures that must also be taken care of. They do not only represent beauty but also helps in the balance of the ecosystem.