Occasional Invaders

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Monarch Butterfly

monarch-butterfly-bug-book

Color of Monarch Butterflies

The upper side of the wings is tawny-orange, the veins and margins are black, and in the margins are two series of small, white spots.

Characteristics

Getting there is half the fun. In one of the most spectacular natural phenomenon of the insect world, adults make mass migrations from August — October, flying to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. At the wintering sites in Mexico, they roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. They leave for the north in the spring. What really makes this amazing is that the butterflies making this pilgrimage have never done it before! How?s that for Mother Nature and instinct?

Where Found

Found in much of temperate North America into the tropics and South America, as well as some islands in the Pacific and Australia.

Habitat

Found in fields, meadows, prairie remnants, urban and suburban parks, gardens, and roadsides. Overwinter in conifer groves.

Food

Caterpillars eat plants in the milkweed family. Hence the name. Adults take nectar from a variety of flowers.

Biology

In migration, females lay eggs along the way on the leaves of the milkweeds. Caterpillars eat the leaves and flowers. The migration south and then northward return spans the life of three to four generations of the butterfly.

Invasion

Most people would welcome one. Gardens are planted specifically to attract these beauties.