The Monarch Butterflies Are Coming!
Spring has sprung! It’s time for the monarch butterflies to fly home!
Here are some fun facts about these beautiful insects!
Monarch butterflies are orange and black – with white spots.
They hibernate in Mexico or California for the winter!
Monarchs start their flight from Mexico to Connecticut in the spring. They fly all the way to the southern states, and then their children and grandchildren fly the rest of the way north.
Females lay their eggs on milkweed plants (poisonous to most animals, but not to monarchs or humans).
Once a caterpillar hatches, it eats only milkweed for two weeks.
The caterpillar spins a case around itself, called a chrysalis, where it stays for one-to-two weeks. During this time, it changes into an adult butterfly. This process is called metamorphosis.
Monarchs that are born in late summer and early fall are the ones that migrate south for the winter.
They fly as far as 3,000 miles!
Eastern monarchs breed in the Great Plains and Canada and migrate to central Mexico.
Western monarchs (smaller and duller in color) breed west of the Rocky Mountains and migrate to southern California.
Monarchs gather in giant clusters to hibernate on oyamel fir trees. This keeps them warm and protects them from predators.
In the spring, these same monarchs fly north again!
Click here to download a monarch coloring sheet.
Click here to download the monarch map activity sheet.