The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly is fascinating!!
The monarch butterfly is one of those creatures that go through 4 distinctly different stages of life.
The name for this unique transformation is called metamorphosis. In Greek, the word metamorphosis means means to transform or change.
This miracle of nature begins with an egg laid by the female monarch butterfly. The egg hatches into a tiny caterpillar. The caterpillar eats and grows, eventually transforming into a chrysalis. And finally out of the small chrysalis emerges the beautiful butterfly. Truly amazing!
Are you considering raising butterflies?
Since the life cycle of the monarch butterfly is very interesting to observe and monarchs are so easy to raise at home, I highly recommend that you try it!
Here are the reasons I think Monarchs are THE most interesting butterfly.
Large and beautiful butterfly
Common throughout North America
Fascinating in all butterfly stages
Amazing monarch migration to central Mexico mountains and California coast
If you are impatient, you should be able to find some common milkweed along the roadside or in a wild, weedy area.
You might see a Monarch butterfly flying near the milkweed and touching down briefly on a leaf. Inspect the underside of the leaf and you should see a tiny Monarch egg.
Once you know what the eggs look like, it won’t be long before you become a pro at finding them.
Remove the leaf from the plant. You can place the leaf in a plastic sandwich container.
Put a wet paper towel inside the container and then put the leaf on top of the paper towel, egg side up.
Snap the cover on the container. Make sure that the paper towel stays wet. I have a high success rate with this method. The humidity produced in the plastic container seems to be beneficial.
I have also cut the stem of the milkweed and placed it in a narrow-necked vase of water.
It takes about 3-5 days for the egg to become a caterpillar.
The first clue of this change is when the top of the egg turns black (caterpillar head). This picture (Right) shows an egg on left leaf with black head and newly hatched caterpillar on the right leaf.
Now, we move on to the
of the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly – the caterpillar.
"Last year I ordered a packet of 75 Tropical Milkweed seeds from you and had 100% success! I raised 159 Monarch butterflies over the course of the summer. I gave many friends beautiful plants and they were enjoyed by all.