The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognized butterfly species, with brightly colored orange wings with distinct black borders. During their larval stage, monarch caterpillars only feed on the milkweed plant, which is poisonous to many other creatures. By eating milkweed, monarchs become poisonous themselves, their orange wings acting as a warning sign to predators not to attack.
As adults, millions of monarch butterflies take part in mass migrations between Central and North America, mating along the way to quickly reproduce as it takes multiple generations of butterflies to complete a single migratory route. Monarch butterflies can play an important ecosystem role, with adults feeding on the nectar from native flowers and acting as pollinators. This species can even provide food as a prey item for multiple species of bird, and some species of mice, which are able to tolerate the monarch’s poison.
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