Life Cycle of the Monarch
The pale green, ribbed and pitted egg
measures approx. 1.2mm in height and hatches after c.4 days.
The female Monarch lays many eggs in a single
day. These eggs are laid singly usually on the underside of a
near the top of the host plant.
The brightly coloured larvae measure approx. 5cm. in length and
are off-white with black and yellow segmental
stripes. A pair of fine black filaments
extend from both an upper thoracic and a lower abdominal segment.
on Milkweed ©
The young larvae first eat their eggshell and then begin feeding on the
host plant. As they feed on milkweed
the larvae absorb a poison from the plant
(cardiac glycoside) which they store and pass on to the adult
making both poisonous to most vertebrates.
Under favourable climatic conditions the entire larval stage
lasts between 9-16 days.
The plump, smooth, jade-green
pupae are studded with glistening gold as is the dorsal belt that adorns
3rd abdominal segment.
Pupae are attached, by black cremasteral
hooks at the end of their long black shining cremaster, to a silken
spun by the larvae on a stem or leaf of the food plant
or on nearby vegetation.
Black shining cremaster
Just before Monarchs emerge from pupation, after
c. 16 days
(occasionally much longer),
pigmentation of the scales develops and the wing pattern becomes visible through the
all Monarchs are sexually mature on emergence from pupation when
they mate and reproduce
after 4-5 days. They feed upon nectar,
water and sometimes liquids from decaying vegetation and survive for
up to 6 weeks.
in the following countries:
Most Islands between Australia
South America ~ Most
Monarchs of S America are a different sub-species (D.
seen in N America (D. plexippus plexippus)
Hawaii and several other Pacific
Caribbean Islands ~ both species
and sub-species are sometimes found
Costal districts of Canary
Costal districts of Southern
Occasional vagrants/migrants in the following countries or regions:
And more rarely:
Migration of Monarchs
to Central Mexico and S California from:
MONARCH WATCH WEBSITE
Butterfly Update: April 19, 2012
are now seeing fresh-winged butterflies of the new generation.
the remaining monarchs from Mexico continue to travel and lay eggs.
the Migration Trail
MONARCH WATCH WEBSITE