When the days start to get longer, when the temperature becomes pleasant, and when the flowers in the field start to bloom, it indicates that the spring season has started. However, if you’re an avid lover of butterflies, that’s not the only pleasant circumstance that happens in spring.
It’s also the season when one of the most recognized and most studied butterflies in the entire planet goes back to their breeding grounds. It’s somewhere between the northeastern United States and Canada. The migration of this species is known as one of the most significant natural events on the planet.
There’s a lot to learn about the species of butterflies. So, here are the top 13 monarch butterfly facts you probably didn’t know about.
Monarch Eggs Hatch Into Larvae
It is known as caterpillars in the realm of butterflies and moths. A caterpillar’s main job is to develop; thus, they only feed most of the time. They are clearly recognized by its vertical band of yellow-green, white, black. They grow up to 45 mm or nearly 2 inches after many molts. This is one of the most interesting monarch butterfly facts out there.
Male Monarch Butterflies Have A Dot in The Veins of Their Wings
This mark is made from different scales rather than the coloration. Males of similar species, meanwhile, generate an aroma called pheromone and draw out their counterparts. In comparison, the stomach forms of the male and female monarch butterflies are distinct. The female’s veins in its wing are even much larger than the males.
They Can’t Bite
Monarch butterflies cannot bite; however, the species have a proboscis, a long tongue that functions similarly to how an eyedropper works. The butterfly uses that tongue to draw out nectar from hard to reach places. It’s also like a garden hose that is completely retractable as the tongue coils up when it’s not in use.
The Species Is No Longer Found in South America
In the meantime, monarch butterflies in North America have two main groups. One of these is the western monarch butterflies, which breed in southern California and the west of the Rocky Mountains. The second is the eastern monarch butterflies who race in the Great Plains in Canada and central Mexico during the winter.
The Monarch Butterfly Uses The Sun As Its Sense of Direction
This species of butterflies use the sun to stay in course. Apart from that, the butterflies also have something that functions similarly to a compass that would help them travel whenever it’s cloudy. Not to mention that they also have special genes that give them highly efficient muscles to aid them in traveling for long distances.
Monarch Butterflies are Poisonous
This butterfly’s poison comes from the milkweed plant, which is the usual food the monarch butterfly consumes. Milkweed is a toxic plant; however, the monarch butterflies have evolved past it as they can tolerate the toxins with ease. They even use it to their advantage against predators, making them poisonous by storing the toxins in their bodies.
A Monarch Butterfly’s Way of Protecting Newborns
The monarch butterfly’s female species lays small eggs, and they cover it with some sticky material underneath the leaves of milkweed. They are making the eggs extremely toxic to predators. It’s also amazing that the caterpillars hatch from the egg later on, and it can already survive the toxins from the leaves of milkweed.
The Bright Colors Serve As A Warning
It doesn’t serve as a warning to other butterflies or people. It serves as a warning to predators that the monarch butterfly is poisonous to them. From the perspective of the predator, not only that, the monarch tastes horrible, but they are quite poisonous due to the existence of cardenolides in their bodies, which they get from consuming milkweeds.
The Start Of Monarch Butterfly’s Cycle
The life cycle of the monarch butterfly starts when a female monarch lays her eggs simultaneously. It takes place on a leaf of a milkweed plant in which the female releases a little glue to bind them to each other. For about two to five weeks, the female monarch butterfly can lay up to 300 to 500 eggs.
A Monarch’s Chrysalis
A chrysalis of the monarch is what it refers to when the butterfly is in the pupa stage of its life cycle. Ultimately, the monarch caterpillar would leave behind the milkweed plant, emerge as a butterfly, and roam the earth freely. The process’s beauty is when the monarch pupates in various places with golden spots and a pale green palette.
A Quarter Of The Molts, The Caterpillar Would Eat The Shed Skin
In the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, there’s a stage called the instar. It’s typically ten to twelve hours before the shedding of the skin takes place. In this particular stage, the caterpillar would spin silk around itself for it to hang. After a few wiggles, the pupa skin would begin to solidify and become a covering for protection.
Different Actions For Different Days
Monarch butterflies have varying behavior due to the time they completed their metamorphosis. Many that emerge in the spring season or early in the summer reproduce in a matter of days. Some that were born late summer or fall would realize that winter is coming. Therefore, due to colder weather, they have been migrating going south where it’s warmer.
Climate Change Is A Big Threat
Monarch butterfly realities are also a matter of global significance in terms of climate change. For one thing, the species are susceptible to variations in weather and temperature. Climate change can affect biological processes, such as migration and reproduction. In addition, adverse weather conditions have a significant effect on their existence.
Monarch butterflies are almost extinct
It’s sad to know that the monarch butterfly is going to be extinct. However, not all hopes are lost as numerous organizations are making their best effort to save the species. There’s the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundations that are working on growing butterfly-friendly plants, like milkweed, to where monarch butterflies migrate en route.