Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle


Monarch Butterfly
Life Cycle





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Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

Like many insects, the lives of monarch butterflies are broken into two phases: the immature stage where their main job is to feed and grow, and the adult phase, where they disperse and reproduce.

Female monarchs deposit as many as 400 eggs, individually, on the underside of plant leaves. Depending on weather, the eggs hatch in just one to four days. See a monarch emerge from the chrysalis

The caterpillars must go through five different moltings before turning into a pupa and emerging as an adult butterfly, a process that takes about two weeks.

Goldenrod Monarch Butterfly Photo Picture  ©M. Timothy O'Keefe

     Monarchs are share a goldenrod plant with bees and other insects.

An adult monarch lives for only about 30 days, so the life cycle is repeated several times during a summer.

What seems to determine whether a monarch remains only a summer breeder or becomes a migrator are the juvenile hormones that kick in as the days start to shorten and the temperature drops.

When the hormones increase, they extend the butterfly's adult life considerably, to a period of six to nine months. They also encourage the animal to migrate rather than reproduce.


Monarchs and Milkweed 

Monarch Migration Patterns 

Monarchs in Mexico

Where To See Migrating Monarchs

Monarch Butterfly Homepage

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