Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly
Monarch butterflies range from Canada to Mexico, spreading their brightly-colored wings wherever milkweed plants, their favorite food, are found. Butterflies have a fairly short life cycle, emerging from eggs after only a few days. Two weeks of gorging on milkweed are all it takes to get to the chrysalis stage, and another two weeks are required for metamorphosis into the dark orange and black beauty that inspires so many. Even more amazing is their migration pattern. Butterflies born in early spring will live only a few weeks, flying north to start the next generation. Subsequent generations also live only a handful of weeks, with each generation continuing the journey north. Finally, the fifth generation of butterflies makes the long journey back south to overwinter in Mexico and start the cycle again.