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    Monarch - Spare Wing
5.50" x 3.50" wings

Price: $4.95
   Fascinating Science Facts:
Danaus plexippus, America and Canada

Monarchs are found all around the world in sub-tropical to tropical areas in open habitats including meadows, fields, marshes, and cleared roadsides. The Monarch butterfly is known as the "wanderer" popularly in Australia and the wing has an upper side that is bright orange with wide black borders and black veins with a hind wing that has a patch of scent scales.

Monarchs will inhabit almost any sunny place with flowers, including parks, gardens or prairies and are found to range across North America coast to coast and up into southern Canada during the summer. Every autumn, millions of Monarchs migrate south and west to central California and central Mexico. Monarchs are also found throughout most of the United States, Southern Canada, Central America, most of South America, some Mediterranean countries, the Canary Islands, Australia, Hawaii, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands.

The life span of the adult Monarch varies, depending on the season in which it emerged from the pupa and whether or not it belongs to a migratory group of Monarchs. Adults that emerged in early summer have the shortest life spans and live for about two to five weeks. Those that emerged in late summer survive over the winter months. The migratory Monarchs, which emerge from the pupa in late summer and then migrate south, live a much longer life, about 8-9 months.

At the Mexico wintering sites, butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. During the winter the butterflies may sip moisture flower nectar during warm days. Most Monarch butterflies will have mated before they leave for the north in the spring so naturally females lay their eggs along the way.

The eggs are always laid singly, on the underside of milkweed leaves. The female attaches the egg to the leaf with a quick-drying glue which she secretes along with the egg. When the egg hatches in about 3 to 5 days a tiny wormlike larva emerges. This larva/caterpillar eats the egg from which it hatched, then it eats milkweed leaves almost constantly until it transforms into a butterfly.

The Monarch is perhaps the most common poisonous butterfly. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed and their eggs are laid on milkweed plant, referred to as the Monarch's host plant. The caterpillars also accumulate toxins from the steady milkweed diet. This makes them poisonous to predators, especially birds.The poison factor plays a role in its survival allowing the larva and caterpillar to mature into an adult saving it from most of its natural predators early in life. Birds learn to avoid eating monarchs and other butterflies, like Viceroys, that look like Monarchs because of the poisoning. Animals that eat a Monarch get very sick and vomit, but generally do not die.

The Milkweed plant (Genus: Asclepius) is a common plant that contains toxins. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators. There are more than 100 species of this perennial herb, containing varying concentrations of toxic chemicals (glycosides). The Monarch is considered a beneficial insect because its caterpillar eats the noxious milkweed plant (Genus: :Asclepias) that invade some farms.

Monarch butterflies, like all butterflies, can only eat liquids and must sip all their food using a tube-like proboscis, which is a long, flexible "tongue." This proboscis uncoils and extends and coils up again into a spiral when not in use. Monarchs drink nectar from many flowers, including milkweed, dogbane, red clover, thistle, lantana, lilac, goldenrod, etc.
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