Exploring bugs in Central Texas through the eyes of a child

Monarch Butterflies

SONY DSCHI I’m back to talk about bugs. This time I will write about MONARCH BUTTERFLIES. Monarch butterflies start as eggs and then hatch to caterpillars. When they are caterpillars they like to eat milkweed. A lot. And they become a chrysalis. And then after a lot of days later they hatch out as an adult butterfly. Monarchs migrate north and south with the seasons. They go to Mexico in the winter and north america in the summer.  And one butterfly does not make the entire trip- it takes 3-4 generations (that means it takes a butterfly and her parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents to make one trip.  But one of my questions is do they migrate east and west or in any other part of the world? They are one of the few insects that can cross the Atlantic and have even been found far away from us in a country called New Zealand.

Monarch butterflies stop to feed along the way and they use a part called their proboscis which is like a drinking straw that is all rolled up and they they unroll it and stick it in a flower to get nectar. Do they get pollen? Yes, they also pick up pollen and transfer it around to other flowers to help in pollination.  SONY DSC

My school garden is a Monarch Waystation . That means that we plant the stuff monarchs need on their migration vacation, like milkweed. Here are some photos from our garden, the Titan Garden.

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These monarch caterpillars have filaments at each end.

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Monarch caterpillars have yellow, black and white stripes

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You can see that monarchs have black bands on all of their wings. Queens look similar but don’t have all of the bands.

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A monarch caterpillar enjoying a party on milkweed

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A monarch caterpillar party on a milkweed plant. Monarch caterpillars feed only on milkweed.

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