Monarch Butterflies Begin Fall Trek South To Mexico, Make Quick Stop In Florida

By  //  October 25, 2016

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LIFE SPAN OF MONARCH IS ONLY SIX MONTHS

ABOVE VIDEO: Learn about the monarch butterfly’s amazing migration of up to 3000 miles.

(FLORIDA FISH & WILDLIFE)  – Millions of monarch butterflies are traveling to their winter homes in Mexico with a layover in Florida.

The monarch butterfly or simply monarch is a milkweed butterfly and is in the family Nymphalidae. Other common names depending on region include milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly, and is considered an iconic pollinator species.

Its wings feature an easily recognizable black, orange, and white pattern, with a wingspan of three to four inches.

The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its annual southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico.

During the fall migration, monarchs cover thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return north.

The frequently stop over in the Sunshine State and were once transported to the International Space Station and bred there.

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After a ten-fold drop in the population of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last decade, a 2016 study predicted an 11 to 57 percent probability that this population will go quasi-extinct over the next 20 years.

Have you ever wondered how they transform from a tiny egg to a beautiful butterfly? Check out the photos to watch the amazing transformation.

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Monarch butterfly eggs are less than a millimeter in width. The eggs hatch about four days after being laid.

Monarch butterfly eggs are less than a millimeter in width. The eggs hatch about four days after being laid.

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Monarch pupae are well camouflaged, since they have no means of defense from predators. After 10-14 days, the adult monarch butterfly will emerge.

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As the monarch caterpillar grows, it becomes too large for its skin so it molts. It does this five times and grows from 2 mm. to as much as 45 mm. in length. This can take up to 14 days. The caterpillar will then transform into a pupa, otherwise known as chrysalis.

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Right now millions of monarch butterflies are flying in from areas as far away as Canada! They rest here in north Florida before traveling to their winter homes in Mexico!


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