Creature Feature

Creature Feature – The Monarch Butterfly, Beautiful Migrant

Posted by  //  August 17, 2018  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Did you know that some monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles to their wintering grounds in Florida, Texas, California and the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico?  Depending on their range, they usually start their journey south in September. In the spring, there is a return migration north by the offspring or great offspring of those that migrated south the previous season.  Incredibly, they know to follow the same migration routes as their parents and grandparents without any guidance. How the new generation of monarchs know where to go is a big mystery to scientists. You can help support monarchs by leaving stands of milkweed in your yard or along road edges (or plant some).  Because monarch caterpillars feed entirely on the toxic milkweed plant, they taste bad to many predators and can even make these animals sick if they are eaten. Most birds and animals have learned to avoid them. The monarch’s bold orange and black colors warn hungry creatures, “Do not eat!” An interesting fact:  another butterfly, called the viceroy, has adapted over time to look a lot like the monarch, but it is not poisonous. However, most predators don’t know that. This form of self defense in nature is known as “mimicry.”

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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