Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle

By: Meriel Bradley Growing up our garden was full of butterflies and bees and I am working to build out my garden from a new home build of nothing but a grassy lawn into a haven for local butterflies, bees, and birds. The Monarch butterfly is one of the most striking and recognizable species of butterfly, and their lifecycle and long migration from the southern US and Mexico right up into Canada is astounding.  It takes up to 4 generations to complete the trip. The Monarch Butterfly was listed by the Committee for the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as Endangered in 2016. They can feed on a variety of nectar-rich flowers, but the caterpillars can only feed on Milkweed as its host plant. This year I planted Milkweed in the garden, the Monarchs arrived and laid eggs and I was lucky enough to watch the caterpillars feed and grow.  I managed to then find and observe a chrysalis to right up to the stunning Monarch Butterfly emerging. Please enjoy my photographs of this amazing progression from caterpillar to butterfly and consider planting Milkweed in your garden to help support this vulnerable, endangered butterfly.

Quick Facts

The Monarch breeds in many areas of southern Canada Most of this population migrates each fall to overwinter in the highlands of central Mexico It takes four to five generations of Monarchs to make it back to Canada during their spring migration Milkweed is needed as the host plant of the Monarch caterpillar

Do Your Part to Help

Create a pollinator habitat for Monarchs – you will also be creating a habitat for hundreds of pollinator species, including bees, moths and other butterflies The perfect Monarch Butterfly garden should be in a sunny sheltered spot, free of pesticides and needs 2 types of plants:
  • Milkweed, which is needed as the host plant of the Monarch caterpillar
  • Plants with nectar-rich blooms to fuel the adult butterfly

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