monarch butterflies eat a sweet liquid called “nectar.”
Monarchs find the nectar in fresh flowers.
- A flower
only produces nectar when it is fresh. It’s a sign that a flower
is no longer producing nectar when its petals lose their color, shrivel
or fall from the flower.
temperatures can destroy most flowers quickly.
butterflies are cold-blooded. This means the monarch’s body
temperature is largely controlled by the temperature of its environment.
butterflies are paralyzed by cold temperatures. They cannot fly unless
their flight muscles are at least 55F (13C). The monarch’s flight
muscles are located in its thorax, the middle section of its three-part
can raise their body temperature in two ways. They can 1) bask in
the sun and they can 2) shiver.
monarchs can only fly when the air temperature is above 60F (on a
cloudy day) or as low as 50F (on a sunny day).
are 4 stages in the monarch life cycle: egg, larva (or caterpillar),
chrysalis, and adult. It takes about one month for a monarch to complete
its life cycle.
temperatures can kill monarchs at any stage of the life cycle.
butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed. When the monarch egg hatches
it becomes a caterpillar. Milkweed is the only food a monarch caterpillar
caterpillars prefer fresh milkweed. When milkweed plants become old,
their leaves turn yellow, fade and fall from the plant.
plants die back to the ground after freezing temperatures.