About the Danaus Plexippus
The monarch butterfly, also known as the danaus plexippus in scientific terms, is one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth to many people, and also one of the most recognizable.
To some, it is also known as the “King of Butterflies,” hence the term “monarch.” It is also said to be named after the mythical king of Egypt and son of Zeus, Danaus, hence the scientific name again, “danaus plexippus”. Scientists date the existence of the monarch butterfly up to 2 million years ago, originating from the tropics of America.
While it is a beautiful creature to behold, it doesn’t always look as beautiful as the ones you see flying about. They start their life as a small, wormy looking thing, and grow into a chubby, oddly colored caterpillar.
After their caterpillar phase, when they decide it’s time for their transformation (known as “metamorphosis”), they build themselves into what’s known as a chrysalis. It isn’t until they hatch from their chrysalis that they become the beautiful black and orange butterflies you see fluttering throughout the sky.
The entire process from egg to butterfly is only about 25 days during warm summer temperatures, and can go as long as 7
weeks during the beginning phases of spring when the temperatures are not as warm.
Once they have gone through all 4 stages of their metamorphosis cycle, they reproduce to create the next generation of the season. The 4th
generation in a season however, has an additional duty. The 4th generation will also fly thousands of miles to migrate to warmer temperatures for the winter, and then return home in the spring to lay the eggs that will begin the 1st generation of the new season. It’s amazing that these creatures, for as little as they are, have the ability to fly as far as they do!