PHOTO: Lynn Rosenblatt
The monarch’s strong wings are its trademark. The black veins in the wings form a strong framework for GLIDING like crossbars of a kite. They glide and ride on the air currents for their long-distance flight!
MONARCHS and MILKWEED are a magical connection…Two life cycles blending hand-in-hand…each with its own magical transformation of change
At cycle’s end, the milkweed pod POPS open – thousands of silky white seed puffs parachute into to air…each drifting in the wind to an unknown place…to begin new life in the spring as the seeds snuggle into the ground for a long winter’s rest.
PHOTO: Amy Moore Skursky
Alabama designated the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) as the official state insect in 1989. Seven states have adopted the monarch butterfly as an official symbol. Alabama also recognizes an official agricultural insect (queen honeybee) and an official state butterfly and mascot (eastern tiger swallowtail). Alabama State Insect
The migratory monarch is a native butterfly well-known to Alabama. Both caterpillar and adult butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning (the Monarch butterfly ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous to predators).
PHOTO: David Levinson
The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was designated the official state insect of Idaho in1992, thanks to the efforts of 4th grade students at Boise’s Cole Elementary School (with help from their teacher). Idaho State Insect
Both the caterpillar and adult monarch butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning to predators – the monarch ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous.
Illinois designated the iconic monarch butterfly as the official state insect in 1975, the result of lobbying by Illinois schoolchildren (a third grader from Decatur was the first to suggest the monarch as state insect). Illinois State Insect
Monarch Butterfly Facts. Both the caterpillar and adult monarch butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning to predators – the monarch ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous. Monarch butterfly populationss are declining due to loss of habitat; listed as NF (near threatened) by the World Wildlife Fund.
Minnesota adopted the lovely monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) as the official state butterfly in 2000. The monarch was promoted by a fourth-grade class at Anderson Elementary School in Mahtomedi, MN. Minnesota State Insect
Monarch caterpillars appear to feed exclusively on milkweed, which grows throughout Minnesota. Both caterpillar and butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning because the toxins ingested from the milkweed plant are poisonous to predators. The male butterfly has small black dots on its lower wings, females do not.
Quote from Representative Harry Mares (who co-sponsored the bill with Senator Chuck Wiger): “A lot of people have an early introduction to the magical world of nature through the monarch, and as we get older it becomes a thread that takes us through science to beauty and aesthetics.”
Both the caterpillar and adult monarch butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning to predators (the monarch ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous).
Seen soaring and gliding across the USA during the summer, monarchs make an incredible 2,500-mile migration each year to their nesting grounds in Mexico and southern California.
Monarch butterflies are threatened and being considered for protection under The U.S. Endangered Species Act (monarch populations have fallen by possibly 90 percent during the last two decades).
Both caterpillar and butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning (the monarch butterfly ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which make it poisonous to predators). The monarch butterfly’s annual migration is one of the great wonders of nature.
PHOTO: Jennifer E. Dacey / University of Rhode Island
West Virginia designated the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) the official state butterfly in 1995. Both caterpillar and butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning – the Monarch ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous to predators. West Virginia State Butterfly
PHOTO: © 2016 Deb Gayer
At cycle’s end, the monarch chrysalis POPS open…an adult butterfly pushes its way out of its crystal sleeping bag to flutter and fly high up in the sky…then glide and soar on majestic wings to an unknown place 2,500 miles away to the Oyamel fir trees of Mexico or the cypress groves and eucalyptus trees of California…snuggling together with thousands for a long winter’s rest.
PHOTO: © 2016 Holli Webb Hearn
With this final cycle…they rest…they mate…and new life begins.
The monarch’s scientific name is s Danaus plexippus. Butterflies and moths belong to a category of insects called Lepidoptera, which means “scale wing.” It comes from the Greek word s lepidos (scale) and pteron (wing). Monarch wings are made of thousands of tiny overlapping scales, like fish scales or shingles on a roof. These powdery scales give butterflies their beautiful color and patterns.
PHOTO: Joshua Mayer ia Inhabitat.com.
PHOTO: Via Wikipedia commons.
Can you tell the difference between a boy monarch and a girl monarch? Take a close look at their bottom wings. You will see a tiny thickening or black “dot” on the boys wings. The girls do NOT have dots…
PHOTO: Piccolo Namek
Milkweed is toxic to many animals … but not the monarch. Milkweed contains cardiac glycosides toxins that are poisonous. It does NOT, however, hurt the monarch caterpillar who consumes almost 30 leaves during its growing and munching cycle. The toxins help the caterpillar and adult butterfly build an interior defense mechanism – a shield of protection – against predators. Predators in nature learn to avoid some species of plants that are very distasteful.
PHOTO: Derek Ramsey
The VICEROY – who has the same coloration as the monarch, uses this “look-alike” characteristic for protection, too. Viceroy Butterflies look very similar to the Monarch. These lucky creatures use their orange and black coloring to trick a predator into hunting elsewhere. Predators are warned and learn how distasteful a monarch is – the Viceroy takes advantage of this feature! This is called Mullerian Mimicry ~ the Viceroy’s defense ~ introduced in 1878 by a German naturalist named Fritz Müller.