Delaware County Cooperative Extension

The Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is one of the most readily recognized butterflies in the country.

Its wings are in bold colors of orange and black. It is usually not shy around people, which makes it even easier to see. The male monarchs have thinner black veins on their wings where females have thicker black veins on their wings.

Some butterflies are very specific to where they lay their eggs. The monarch will only lay its eggs on milkweeds. Milkweeds contain a potent heart poison which makes the monarch poisonous when eaten. This aids in defense against predators.

Monarchs are unique because they migrate south for the winter like birds. However, they do not return to where they were born, but their offspring may. Keep an eye out for the monarchs to migrate in mid to late September through the prairies. You might see a lot of them around at this time of year.

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