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Monarch Butterfly
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Monarch Butterfly

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Nymphalidae

Pest Status: Monarch butterflies are not pests.

Appearance: Adults are about 3 1/2-inches long and are bright orange with black wing veins and outer margins. The hindwings are rounded and lighter in color than the forewings.

Life Cycle: Adult female monarchs lay their eggs on the undersides of milkweed leaves. These eggs hatch, depending on temperature, in 3 to 12 days. Larvae feed on leaves for about two weeks and then attach themselves to twigs to pupate. The adults emerge in about two weeks.

Where to Collect: Monarchs are found around milkweed plants and are present most of the spring, summer and early fall. They are known for their long migrations (up to 1,800 miles) to pass the winter in a specific valley of Mexico, even though each migrant is three generations removed from its ancestor that overwintered there the previous year.