The monarch butterfly has one of the most incredible life journeys in the animal kingdom. That journey begins as a tiny egg on the underside of a milkweed leaf, and ends as a beautiful black and orange butterfly. The monarch begins life as a yellow, black, and white caterpillar. It grows quickly and soon creates a pale green chrysalis. Two weeks pass, and out comes an adult butterfly. The monarch butterfly spends the summer in the meadows of North America. But as summer comes to an end, and the days get colder and shorter, the monarch must leave the meadows.
The monarchs fly south, up to 3,000 miles, to their winter homes. It was not until 1975 that scientist discovered the twelve mountain tops in central Mexico where the monarch spend their winters. Once spring arrives the monarchs return north and begin the multi-generational cycle all over again. It is still unknown how the monarchs make the journey, but each year they do.
The monarch’s journey is getting more and more difficult as both their summer and winter homes are beginning to disappear. As human continue to develop the land there is less habitat that the monarchs need to survive; however, you can do something about it. Planting a butterfly garden creates patches of habitat vital to the monarch’s survival. These gardens have milkweed and nectar plants that provide food for both the caterpillar and the adult butterfly.
If you want to learn more about the monarch butterfly you can visit the juvenile non-fiction section at the Auburn Hills Public Library. Here are some books that you can check out on the topic.