Monarch butterfly The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer. Female Male
Where does it migrate to? • The Monarch is famous for its southward migration and northward return in summer from Canada to Mexico and Baja California which spans the life of three to four generations of the butterfly.
Why does it migrate? • Monarch butterflies migrate to warmer climates to escape from the upcoming cold weather and the food shortage that will result from the temperature fall. • That migration is related to three principle factors: (1) monarch larvae feed exclusively on species of milkweed; (2) the migratory pattern is from northeast to southwest; and (3) there is a long history, extending over eons
Habitat • The Monarch can be found in a wide range of habitats such as fields, meadows, prairie remnants, urban and suburban parks, gardens, and roadsides. It over winters in conifer groves
How does it migrate? • The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation of the summer enters into a non-reproductive phase known as diapause and may live seven months or more. During diapause, butterflies fly to one of many over wintering sites. The generation that over winters generally does not reproduce until it leaves the over wintering site sometime in February and March. • Monarch flight speeds have been measured at 12 miles per hour. monarch butterfly migration map.
What it eats? • For starters, the larvae of monarch butterflies eat only milkweed, this is why the monarch butterfly is dubbed the 'milkweed butterfly'. • In turn, the adult butterflies consume all sorts of different things including nectar, water and even liquids from some of the fruits we consume. If you are looking to attract monarch butterflies to your backyard, simply plant a few fruit-bearing trees along with plenty of flowers and you should definitely have yourself a back yard full of monarch butterflies. They especially like to drink from mushy slices of banana, oranges and watermelon. There are special butterfly feeders you could buy that are colored like a flower and come with special sugar you mix in water to make food for them to eat. A Monarch Caterpillar will only eat Milkweed Plants. This Butterfly Is Eating Nectar from a Flower. Do You See the Proboscis (Feeding Straw)?
Where it lives? • Monarch butterflies are indigenousto Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. They live in the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, southern Europe, and northwest Africa, although they are not native to these places.
Adaptation to its environment • The monarch butterfly produces a chemical that gives its body a very bitter taste; which birds hate. They get that taste from the Milkweed plant which they feed on. • The Monarch Butterfly (larvae) has adapted itself to eat milkweed plants, which are very bitter. Because of the food source, the butterfly begins to taste like milkweed to predators. • A monarch butterfly's adaptation is using its proboscis, which is the straw like tube that is used to sip nectar out of a flower.