Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monarch

One of the most commonly recognized butterflies in North America is the monarch. The monarch is found through out most of North America except for the far north.
The monarch is a member of the brushfoot family. There are around 5000 different species of brushfoots in the world with over 200 of them living in North America. The brushfoot family got its name because their front legs are shortened and covered with hair giving them the appearance of a small brush.
Monarchs larvae, or caterpillars, only eat plants from the milkweed family, particularly common milkweed. Ingesting the toxic sap from the milkweed makes both larvae and butterfly unpalatable to many predators, an exception to this is the dragonhunter dragonfly.
Here in the north monarchs typically have two broods per year. The second brood will migrate south in the fall down into the mountains of central Mexico, monarchs on the west coast usually migrate to southern California. When they reach their destination they will hibernate in mass groups until spring when they will awaken and mate and die. Eventually their offspring will make it back north.

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7 comments:

Leora said...

Love your monarch photos. Brings back memories of visiting Cape May in southern New Jersey and seeing them up close.

Teresa said...

They really are amazing creatures! Last fall I had a whole swarm of them spend the night in the oak trees in my pasture. Beautiful!

Kala said...

Wonderful details of the patterns of this beautiful butterfly.

One said...

Those are some great shots!

Joseph said...

great photos of such a beautiful butterfly. i have about fifty milkweed plants in my garden this year to attract monarchs so hopefully i'll have some photos like this later in the season.

LauraX said...

so beautiful!

Barbara said...

So gorgous!