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Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly
Danaus plexippus

One of the most popular butterflies in the USA, where their annual migration between their Mexican wintering roosts and most parts of the USA is tracked with interest. Many butterfly farmers breed these beautiful insects for release at weddings and similar events. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed, which contains toxins that are passed on to te adult. Predators soon learn that Monarchs are not good eating!

I have yet to get a good photograph of a Monarch with wings open because they are so active and will not sit still. This one had just emerged from its chrysalis (not in view) and was expanding and hardening its wings as it slowly climbed past one of its siblings still in its chrysalis.

The colour of the chrysalis shows that this butterfly will also emerge soon. The walls of the chrysalis will turn transparent shortly before emergence and the butterfly wing patterns will be visible.

Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Danaus
Latin name: Danaus plexippus
Common name: Monarch Butterfly