Facts and Life Cycle of The Beautiful Monarch Butterfly

by WriterArtist

The beautiful Monarch Butterfly life cycle and facts are essential for the humanity to take steps from preventing them from becoming extinct.

Did you know that the lovely butterfly flittering in your lawn is an insect that we love? The beautiful butterfly is such light weight creature that it can just drift with the wind seamlessly. It seems as though there is no effort required to float into the sky.

These beautiful creatures are the masterpieces drawn artistically by the painter who is none other than Mother Nature. When I watch them, it seems to me like an artist has painted his masterpiece in orange and black with white markings on their wings.

I remember seeing them in plenty when I was a kid. Sadly, I don’t recall observing even a single one from past ten years in the location where I am staying now which an urban part is of heavily populated town.

The number of monarchs is declining; they will soon be listed as endangered species. The reasons are obvious – loss of habitats, extreme weather conditions, freezing temperatures and decreasing presence of milkweed plants.

Butterflies are a necessary part of our eco-system because they pollinate plants which are our main source of food.

Image Credit : Wikimedia Commons, Author Thomas Bresson from Belfort, France and Author Anne Toal from US licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Image Credit - Pixabay, Author Kapa65
© copyright WriterArtist 2014, all rights reserved

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Life Cycle of Monarch Butterfly


The life cycle of Monarch Butterfly is the most interesting thing especially for butterfly lovers. The Monarch Butterfly is a very rare species and amazing butterfly for many reasons. It is possible that you have seen these butterflies fluttering in your garden capturing your attention and admiration instantly. Some Monarchs live from 2 to 6 weeks in the summer or spring season depending on the location.


The monarch butterfly is the most common species of milkweed butterfly in North America, commonly known as milkweed butterfly because the larvae of this group of species feed primarily on milkweed plants.


When the Monarchs are caterpillars, they are yellow white and black. They are found mostly in northern part of Australia, Mexico, Pacific Islands and Western Europe.  They are known to migrate in winter. Their favourite dish is milkweed leaves the baby butterflies love to feed on them. They survive by drinking nectar from flowers when they achieve adulthood like all other butterflies.  The wingspan of a fully grown Monarch is approximately five inches. Monarchs can fly all the way from Canada to Mexico in single year. 

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Facts about Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a well-known North American butterfly. The wings of Monarch feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern.

Why is this colour chosen by the butterfly?

Obviously for survival, the Monarch’s colors tell enemies that it is dangerous if eaten or consumed.  It also sports big black or white circles on a splashy background of orange and black probably to scare off its enemies.

The journey of the monarch butterfly begins on the underside of a leaf. Female monarchs seek special vegetation and prefer specific plants where they can lay their eggs and the larvae’s can eat them without danger. For Monarch butterflies, only a poisonous plant called the milkweed will do. A female butterfly is quite fussy and checks around carefully before laying an egg. She makes certain that there are no spiders or other enemies nearby when the eggs hatch and transform into larvae. The plant must be healthy and in an area sheltered from strong winds. All these preparations are made for the arrival of the baby butterfly which we refer as caterpillar.

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Migration Pattern and Habitat of Monarch Butterfly


Interestingly, the monarch butterfly navigates using a genetically inherited direction finding system. According to research and various studies of the species, it appears that they are unable to change their patterns and seem oblivious of the damage to the eco-system along their migratory path. For this reason and the inability to sense the devastation, the monarch continues to migrate to previous habitats that have been subjected to heavy deforestation and industrialization. This has placed the beautiful species under significant threat and Monarch is one of the rare endangered species of butterfly identified for resurrection.

If Darwin’s theory of evolution is to be believed, future generations of Monarch Butterflies must learn to reprogram their navigation system, adapt to the changes of deforestation or unfortunately face possible extinction. 


Starting in spring, three generations of Monarch butterfly will go through the life cycle process of Monarch.  Each of these generations lasts approximately about six weeks. The eggs laid by the third generation give birth to the fourth and final generation for that year. However, the adult butterflies that emerge in the fourth generation are capable of living for a period of 6 to 8 months which is very essential for the survival of their species especially so they can migrate to a favourable location and then return in the spring to start the life cycle of Monarch again.

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How You Can Help Save Monarchs?

The life of this exotic monarch butterfly is as attractive and interesting like any celebrity. Let these magnificent creatures live their complete life cycle and not become extinct tales of species that once inhabited the earth in plenty. Obviously, the colorful life of a monarch butterfly and its struggle for existence has been a topic of research for scientists, nature lovers, conservationists and butterfly fans equally.

You can save these beautiful butterflies by starting a butterfly garden no matter which part of earth you dwell. By providing habitats for them, you can ensure that they live on our planet for more years without fear.


Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle on YouTube

Updated: 08/09/2015, WriterArtist
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


cazort on 08/18/2014

We planted swamp milkweed in our yard, and also there was some common milkweed that came up in another location, and we actively encouraged it, and sure enough, monarchs have showed up in our yard. I then planted a third type of milkweed, the orange-flowering "butterfly weed", Asclepias tuberosa. It's a stunningly beautiful flower too.

It reminds me a lot of that old movie, "if you build it, they will come"...you just need to create the right habitat and the insects associated with that habitat will show up.

There are so many different types of milkweeds. I don't know which ones are best, but I know that by planting a variety of them, you can get a great deal of variety of color. They also attract other types of insect biodiversity too...I found some aphids eating our swamp milkweed, and then I found a praying mantis had showed up to eat them.

VioletteRose on 07/27/2014

The posters look too beautiful. I didn't know the numbers are declining, I used to see them in the garden in my parents' home especially when there were milkweed flowers and the red Mexican sunflowers. They are so pretty.

ologsinquito on 07/26/2014

I'd hate to even think about these beautiful creatures becoming extinct. Voted up and pinned.

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