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Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end). The four wings and the six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move.
|.||Egg: Spherical, ridged and white.|
|Caterpillar: The larva is banded with white/cream, black, and yellow stripes. It has three pairs of thoracic legs and five pairs of prolegs (which will disappear during the pupal stage). It has 2 pairs of sensory tentacles, one pair on the head and another pair near the end of the abdomen.|
|Pupa: The monarch remains in its pupa for about 10 to 14 days. The green cylindrical pupa becomes transparent a day before the adult emerges.|
|Adult: Bright orange with black wing veins and outer margins. The wings have white spots on outer margins, and three orange patches are found near the top of the forewings. The hindwings are very rounded, and they are lighter in color than the forewings. The body is black with white spots.|
Other Monarchs stay in one area their entire lives.
It takes about a month for the adult to develop (from egg to pupa to adult).
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.
Order: Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)
Family: Nymphalidae (over 5,000 species of butterflies with dwarfed front legs)
Subfamily: Danaidae (milkweed butterflies)
Genus and species: Danaus plexippus
|Butterfly Label Me! Printout
Label the diagram of a butterfly.
|Butterfly Life Cycle Label Me! Printout
Label the stages in a butterfly life cycle from egg to larva to pupa to adult.
|Butterfly Life Cycle Printout
Print your own copy of a butterfly's life cycle from egg to larva to pupa to adult.
Simple crafts ideas on caterpillars and butterflies.
Queen Alexandra's Birdwing Butterfly
Painted Lady Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
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