4 Monarch Butterfly Facts For Kids
The monarch butterfly is one of the largest butterflies in existence and is probably the most common type of butterfly in America. It is known for its large black and orange wings and can be seen flying south in large groups during what is called migration season, or when animals fly to other parts of the world to stay warm during winter. If you’ve ever seen one of these butterflies you may be surprised at some fun facts about how they grow and how they behave, and where they live.
How They Grow
1. Butterflies always start out as caterpillars, and you can tell a monarch butterfly caterpillar by its orange or yellow and black stripes. It gets to be very long and very heavy as it grows. Like all caterpillars it then eventually curls up into a little ball and creates a cocoon or what is called a chrysalis over itself, where it then mutates into the butterfly. Eventually the butterfly comes out of the cocoon with long wings and its bright colors.
2. To grow and stay strong, the butterfly eats a variety of plants and even nectar, which is a juice inside plants and flowers. They prefer milkweed, thistles, hemp, goldenrod, clover, lilac, horseweed, and ironweed plants. If you want to attract butterflies to your yard or garden, you might consider planting any of these to see if they will come and feed on them!
Where They Live
3. The monarch butterfly lives all over the United States and Canada, but in the later part of the year they migrate or move south to areas near Mexico. This is because it’s much warmer in the south and the delicate butterfly can live better where it’s warmer. Butterflies also need to eat all the time and cannot hibernate and live off their fat like bears or other animals, so they need to go where there is food all the time.
4. In some cases the butterflies travel in such large groups that they can be seen for miles, and they may look like birds flying together. Traveling in groups keeps them safe and they may simply form these groups as they all fly in the same direction and to the same place. In the spring though you will see the butterflies returning and will see even more that are forming as they caterpillars continue to transform.