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Monarch Butterfly

Danaus plexippus


Egg: Spherical, ridged and white. Caterpillar: The larva is banded with white/cream, black, and yellow stripes. It has three pairs of thoracic legs and five pairs of prolegs (which will disappear during the pupal stage). It has 2 pairs of sensory tentacles, one pair on the head and another pair near the end of the abdomen. Pupa: The monarch remains in its pupa for about 10 to 14 days. The green cylindrical pupa becomes transparent a day before the adult emerges. Adult: Bright orange with black wing veins and outer margins. The wings have white spots on outer margins, and three orange patches are found near the top of the forewings. The hindwings are very rounded, and they are lighter in color than the forewings. The body is black with white spots.


Habitat: Monarchs live mainly in prairies, meadows, roadsides, and grasslands. The larvae live and feed exclusively on milkweed plants, but the butterflies hang out on a variety of different plants. The monarch eggs are deposited on the milkweed plant, and the caterpillars live on the plant, eating the leaves. Range: Monarch butterflies live all over North America, and the northernmost populations migrate south for the winter. Entomologists (scientists who study insects) have divided the migrating populations of monarch butterflies into two groups, one west of the continental divide, which the butterflies can not fly over, and all the territory eastward. The butterflies wait out the winter in large colonies south of the freeze line (often Mexico and California), and then return home.


This is one of my Monarch Butterflies that I have raised from an egg, and tagged as an adult as part of the program. This butterfly is a male.

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LuisStevens 8 years ago

Orange butterfly on orange flower, nice!

Spotted by

Garrettsville, Ohio, USA

Spotted on Jul 12, 2012
Submitted on Jun 12, 2013

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