10 Incredible Monarch Butterfly Facts

monarch butterfly australian butterfly sanctuary

Today we share 10 incredible Monarch Butterfly facts.

The Monarch Butterfly species is undoubtedly one of the most iconic in the whole world.

Here’s 10 Monarch Butterfly facts that will show these butterflies are just as interesting as they are beautiful.

1. They Have Slow Motion Clapping Wings

The average butterfly flaps its wings around 20 times per second. The Monarch Butterfly, on the other hand, flaps its wings around 5 to 12 times a second.

2. In the USA, They Travel 3,000 miles, Every Year!

That’s equivalent to 4828 kilometres! This annual migration starts in north east United States and Canada and finishes in southwest Mexico. The migration takes place over four generations of butterflies.

You can read more about incredible butterfly migrations here.

3. They Are Poisonous

Monarchs eat poisonous milkweed during their larval stage, which is stored in the body. The poison, cardiac glycosides, causes predators to vomit, although it rarely causes death.

The brightly hued wings of the Monarch Butterfly acts as a “warning sign” to deter hungry predators.

4. The Caterpillars Are Keen Eaters

Greedy Monarch caterpillars have been known to devour a whole milkweed leaf in under five minutes. They eat 200 times their weight in milkweed!

5. They Arrived in Australia in 1871

They originate from Northern America and were introduced to Australia in the 1870s.

6. Their Chrysalises Have Gold Studs

Funnily enough, the word “chrysalis” is actually derived from the greek word for gold, “chrysos”.

The gold spots on Monarch Butterfly chrysalises are due to carotenoid pigments from their milkweed diet.

7. The Caterpillars Eat Their Shed Skins

As a matter of fact, this caterpillar is quite resourceful! When it first emerges from the egg, it eats the egg shell.

It then sheds its skin five times as it grows and makes a meal out of this each time.

8. They Are Fast Growers

The Monarch caterpillar can grow two thousand seven hundred times it’s original weight. Pretty impressive considering that it is only in its caterpillar stage for 10 to 14 days!

9. It’s the State Insect of 5 USA States

The Monarch is the state insect of Texas, Minnesota, Idaho, Illinois and Alabama. It’s also the state butterfly of Vermont and West Virginia.

10. Their Scientific Name is Danaus plexippus

This is Greek for “sleepy transformation” and refers to the transformation process that happens in the chrysalis.

Visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary today to see the stunning Monarch Butterfly. Join a complimentary guided tour to learn more about this incredible butterfly.

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