The Monarch Butterfly
The Great Migration
On a late August morning in Minnesota a small egg hangs on the leaf of a milkweed plant. The caterpillar inside is destined to become a beautiful monarch butterfly. It emerges from it's egg and eats it whole. This is a good source of food for it, as it needs to grow quickly to reach Mexico in time. It munches on the milkweed leaf, this builds up the toxins in his body, making him poisonous to other predators. As he grows he turns from a light grey to a very flamboyant yellow, black and white. Predators know these colors to be poisonous. This caterpillar will shed its skin 5 times. After the fourth time he will leave the milkweed plant and find a spot to form is chrysalis. It will hang in a J shape before it sheds its skin for the fifth time. The fifth time it sheds its skin the caterpillar will disappear, and will reveal a green chrysalis under its skin. It wiggles and jiggles to shake the old skin off and then hangs for about ten days silent and still. Inside, it is a liquid of cells that are rearranging into a beautiful butterfly. On the tenth day it emerges. Its wings are shriveled and small its abdomen is swollen with liquid. It uses this liquid to pump up its wings. After its wings are fully inflated, it waits, as its wings dry for about 6 hours, flapping them dry. We can now tell that this monarch is a female as its black markings are thick, and it doesn't have the sent glands on its lower wings (sent glands look like little black dots, one on each lower wing, only the male monarchs have this). After her wings are dry, she heads for Mexico, she is a very special generation of butterfly. Most butterflies live for only a few weeks. But this girl will live for nine months she will fly 2,000 miles and reach a remote place in the mountains in Mexico where she will mate, lay her eggs and die.
This video shows the incredible metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly.
Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis time-lapse FYV 1080 HD
Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis Time-lapse FYV 1080 HD. Https://youtu.be/ocWgSgMGxOc, 2014.
Male v Female
This image shows the difference between male and female monarch butterflies.
Male and Female Monarch Butterfly Comparison. Digital image.Monarchwatch. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2016.
This song sings about the journey of a butterfly.
The Butterfly Song - Split Track (Toddler Toons Music Album Version) by Thingamakid
Thingama Kid. The Butterfly Song. N.d. CD.