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Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly


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From nearly invisible eggs, tiny striped caterpillars emerge. They begin feeding on the surrounding milkweed leaves immediately, storing food for the transition to come. After two weeks, they form a chrysalis, from which a monarch butterfly emerges after another two weeks. 

Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus 

Characteristics: Thanks to its bright orange and black colouring, the monarch is one of the best-known butterfly species. Its amazing transition is shown in this four-part life cycle. 

Size and Colour: The newly emerged caterpillars are black, white, and yellow, a stark contrast with the emerald chrysalis that follows. The finest colours, however, are reserved for the adult monarch butterfly, which is 3 ½ inches from wingtip to wingtip.

Age: 4+ years