“A colourful Monarch butterfly uses its antennae to search this pink flower for nectar.”
What’s Special About The Monarch Butterfly?
The Monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known and easily recognised butterfly species in the world. Here are a few things that make Monarchs special:
- Migration: Monarchs are famous for their long-distance migration. Each year, they travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in North America to wintering sites in Mexico or California.
- Metamorphosis: Like all butterflies, Monarchs undergo a complete metamorphosis, transforming from an egg, to a caterpillar, to a pupa, and finally to an adult butterfly.
- Warning Colouration: The bright orange and black colours of the Monarch serve as a warning to predators that they are toxic. Monarchs, like many other butterflies, obtain their toxins from the plants they eat as caterpillars.
- Milkweed: The Monarch caterpillar’s sole food source is milkweed, which contains toxins that protect the caterpillar from predators.
- Conservation: The Monarch butterfly is currently facing significant conservation challenges due to habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use. Efforts to protect and restore Monarch habitat are underway across North America to help ensure the species’ survival.
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