Monarch butterflies are easily distinguished by their beautiful orange and black contours on the wings and the specific shape. However, besides being beautiful, these butterflies are special for something else as well. Namely, they migrate, traveling very long distances only to avoid winter and cold climate of their native areas. Thus, these butterflies may fly thousands of miles only to reach their desired destination.
Monarch butterfly is scientifically known as Danaus Plexippus, native to North America as well as some other countries. The width of its wings is about 10cm and it weight is less than a single gram. Females of the species are smaller than males, who have an additional spot on their wings. Commonly, people mix this species with the Viceroy butterfly. However, Viceroy butterflies possess black lines in the lower part of their wings while this is not a trait of monarch butterflies.
These insects lay their eggs in milkweed plants, where their larvae feed and develop.
The migration is directed from the north to the south areas and these butterflies begin their journey during hot and tolerable parts of the year, so that they can reach the desired destinations before it gets too cold. This usually takes place in August, before the frost season. Monarch butterflies come back to the north once the cold season is over, spending the summer in their native surroundings.
So, monarch butterflies from the eastern US travel to Mexico or the coastline of Texas, where they reside during the winter. In the same way, monarchs from the west side of the Rocky Mountains migrate to Pacific Grove, spending time in eucalyptus trees. These insects repeat this process throughout their lives.
Some monarch butterflies may lay their eggs in milkweed found during their migration. The larvae which develop there, once they become butterflies, continue to migrate and repeat this for as long as they live. Amazingly, a single monarch butterfly may travel more than 3,000 miles.
These butterflies do not remain in the lands they migrate to since back in the north they have an abundance of milkweed. Thus, they will always return to their native regions. However, during the migrations, thousands of monarch butterflies fly in groups. Moreover, they rest in big trees, staying close together, keeping themselves warm this way, creating remarkable sights of natural miracles. All in all, monarch butterflies are wonderful creatures. If you want to have them beautifying your garden, make sure you plant some milkweed and you are bound to have these insects visiting you regularly.