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Raising Butterflies
Black Swallowtail

Please Plant Milkweed


The Monarchs Need Our Help 



                   Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa





















                                                 Swamp Milkweed - Asclepias incarnata


Climate Change May Disrupt Monarch Butterfly Migration: The butterflies rely on the thaw of spring to tell them when to begin the long journey back north but global warming may disrupt the timing.  Scientific American 


Local Scientist Unravels Mysteries inside a Butterfly Chrysalis: Wing development was major, of course, but everyone was blown away to see that the butterfly's brain was visible from day one. The telltale gold spots on the outside of a chrysalis are ports of entry for oxygen. Read the whole story here


Mystery of Monarch Butterfly Migration Takes New Turn: A prevailing theory contends that eastern and western monarchs are genetically distinct. ScienceDaily.


A Long Flight but No Baggage: The new monarch genome gives clues to how the butterflies travel. Scientific American.


DNA to Flutter By: Monarchs' genetic instructions help meet migration and navigation needs. To read the entire story go to DNA to Flutter By - Science News.


Zombie Caterpillars: Virus Liquifies Insects:


Monarch Caterpillars on the International Space Station: Monarch caterpillars were sent into space on the Atlantis to study the challenges that the monarchs will face in space as they pertain to their natural development. To read more on this, go to


Monarchs Butterflies with a Heavy Load: Monarchs are being fitted with transmitters so that scientists can better study their migratory paths. For more information go to


Scientist Have Discovered a Key to the Monarch Migration: The Monarchs antennae play a major role in the navigation to Mexico. To read more go to Butterfly Antennas Key to Navigating in Migration and Neurobiologists Discover Butterfly Chronometer


Host Plant Species Affects Virulence in Monarch Butterfly Parasites: A study was done to find out if the host plant species would have any effect on the virulence (the ability of a microorganism to cause disease) in Monarch butterfly parasites. Click here to view the PDF version of the paper.


A Monarch Butterfly Emerging from The Chrysalis: This movie shows the complete eclosion (coming out) of a Monarch butterfly from the chrysalis. As the butterfly pumps blood into the wings, the wings elongate as the body become smaller. The front legs, which do not look like legs at all, pat the proboscis. When the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis, the proboscis is in two parts. The butterfly continues to pat it until the two parts are completely connected. This monarch happens to be a male. You can tell because on its hindwings, there is a smudge on one of its veins. This smudge is a scent pouch which emits pheromones to attract the female.



The Monarch Butterfly


Approximate days: egg 3-6 days, caterpillar 9-14 days, chrysalis 9-14 days.


Approximate life of the butterfly: 4-6 weeks except for the last brood which lives up to 9 months.


Only 1 percent or less of all eggs become adults.


They lay their eggs on plants in the milkweed family – Asclepias spp.


During the female’s life time, she will lay several hundred eggs. The average number of eggs is 300 - 400.


The eggs are about 1/32 inch, ivory, oval with a flat bottom, and ridged from top to bottom.


The caterpillar grows from about 3/32 inch to about 2 inches.


It has 5 instars, which are stages of growth between molting (shedding their skin/exoskeleton). The last time they molt, they make their chrysalis.


The chrysalis is jade with metallic gold spots.


The butterfly ranges in size from 3 ½ to 4 ½ inches.


Generally males are larger than females.


The males have thinner veins and 2 black spots on their hindwings. Those spots are alar pockets which have glands in them that produce pheromones. The pheromones entice females into mating in many species of butterflies, but seem not to affect Monarchs.


They nectar on a wide variety of plants. A few of them are Milkweeds – Asclepias spp., Blue Mistflower – Eupatorium coelestinum, Red Clover – Trifolium pratense, Joe-Pye-Weed – Eupatorium maculatum, Asters – Aster spp., Purple Coneflower – Echinacea purpurea, Boneset – Eupatorium perfoliatum, Blazing Star – Liatris spp., Phlox – Phlox spp., and Vervain – Verbena spp..


On the average, Monarchs can fly about 12 miles per hour.


Monarchs can fly over 2 miles high. They have been spotted flying between 10,000 and 13,000 feet high.


Most of the Monarchs which are east of the Rocky Mountains overwinter in a mountain range which is 44 to 105 miles west of Mexico City and most of the other ones that are west of the Rocky Mountains overwinter in California.



Monarch Websites: