• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Work with all your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in one place. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!



Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago




YouTube plugin error  

What is a butterfly? from the Fredrick Meijer Foremost Butterflies are blooming site

But·ter·fly (bùt-er-flì´) noun

Any of various insects of the order Lepidoptera, characteristically having slender bodies, knobbed antennae, and four broad, usually colorful, wings. The word Lepidoptera comes from the Greek words lepis meaning scale and pteron meaning wing. Butterfly wings are made of hardened membrane, strengthened by veins and covered by tiny scales, each a single color. The intricate designs of butterfly wings are produced by thousands of scales, arrayed in complex patterns and overlapping one another like shingles on a roof.






YouTube plugin error  




The Monarch Butterfly

Danaus plexippus 

Please note:  The photos on this page have come from clipart CD's which allow use on educational internet sites and in school projects or they have been contributed by viewers.  

You are free to use all of it in book reports or for your personal website.

See KidZone Bibliography for more information.

monarch butterfly on milkweed
Photo of a Monarch butterfly on milkweed

Milkweed plant
Photo of a Milkweed Plant

The monarch butterfly is sometimes called the "milkweed butterfly" because its larvae eat the plant.  In fact, milkweed is the only thing the larvae can eat!  If you'd like to attract monarchs to your garden, you can try planting milkweed (if you live in the right area).  You can purchase milkweed seed online from Butterfly Encounters (close window when done purchasing to return to this screen)

Adult female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves.  These eggs hatch, depending on temperature, in three to twelve days.  

The larvae feed on the plant leaves for about two weeks and develop into caterpillars about 2 inches long. 

Photo of a monarch caterpillar
thanks to Tanya for sending this in!

Thanks so much to Keren for sharing this picture of a Monarch pupa affectionately know as "Billy Bunny".  Check out the whole story.
We also have a photo story provided by Linda. 

After awhile, the caterpillars attach themselves head down to a convenient twig, they shed their outer skin and begin the transformation into a pupa (or chrysalis), a process which is completed in a matter of hours.  

The pupa resembles a waxy, jade vase and becomes increasingly transparent as the process progresses.  The caterpillar completes the miraculous transformation into a beautiful adult butterfly in about two weeks. 

You can see photos of the entire process of a monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis at photo story provided by Linda. 

The butterfly finally emerges from the now transparent chrysalis.  

It inflates its wings with a pool of blood it has stored in its abdomen.  When this is done, the monarch expels any excess fluid and rests.

The butterfly waits until its wings stiffen and dry before it flies away to start the cycle of life all over again. 

monarch butterfly on milkweed

monarch butterflies

Eastern populations winter in Florida, along the coast of Texas, and in Mexico, and return to the north in spring.  Monarch butterflies follow the same migration patterns every year.  During migration, huge numbers of butterflies can be seen gathered together.

Nope, those orange things to the left are not autumn leaves... they're hundreds of Monarch butterflies!

Viceroy butterfly

The butterfly to the left is the Viceroy Butterfly 
(Limenitis archippus)

He's evolved to look like the poisonous monarch to the right so that predators will avoid him too!

monarch butterfly

bullet Class: Insecta (insects) 
bullet Order: Lepidoptera (butterflies) 
bullet Family: Danaidae (Milkweed butterfly family) 
bullet Genus: Danaus 
bullet Species: plexippus

Butterfly or moth: what's the difference?


  • Most butterflies primarily fly during the day (are diurnal) and many moths fly at night (are nocturnal).
  • Butterflies have knobbed antenna and moths have feathery or straight antenna.
  • Butterfly bodies are usually slim, while moth bodies are plump and hairy.
  • Moths usually spin silken cocoons to enclose their pupae or burrow underground to pupate.
  • Butterflies form chrysalises.


Butterfly body parts

Butterflies have two pairs of scaly wings and two segmented, clubbed antennae. Like all insects, they have a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and a segmented exoskeleton.




 Life Cycle


JPG - drawing of egg on leaf

The egg


It is a tiny, round, oval, or cylindrical object, usually with fine ribs and other microscopic structures. The female attaches the egg to leaves, stems, or other objects, usually on or near the intended caterpillar food.

JPG - drawing of caterpillar on a leaf

The caterpillar (or larva) is the long, worm-like stage of the butterfly or moth. It often has an interesting pattern of stripes or patches, and it may have spine-like hairs. It is the feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times so as to enclose its rapidly growing body.

JPG - drawing of the chrysalis

The chrysalis (or pupa) is the transformation stage within which the caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed. The chrysalis of most species is brown or green and blends into the background. Many species overwinter in this stage.

JPG - drawing of the adult emerging from the chrysalis

The adult emerges from the chrysalis.

monarch butterfly

JPG - drawing of adult moth

The adult (or imago) is the colorful butterfly or moth usually seen. It is the reproductive and mobile stage for the species. The adults undergo courtship, mating, and egg-laying. The adult butterfly or moth is also the stage that migrates or colonizes new habitats.




Let's  the Life cycle of the butterfly




Butterfly Catch


Butterfly Dance


Slide Puzzles



--- butterflies ---





More Butterfly Activities


Butterfly sequence cards



Buttefly cut outs



Butterfly coloring pages



Butterflies are blooming right here in town at the Fredrick Meijer gardens



Butterfly pictures






Poetry Idea Engine



Going Buggy! Game
Get ready for spring with insect games and activitie




Fun with Butterfly Games

The Hungry Caterpillar

Find My Partner

What's Missing?

Scrambled Wings


Feed Me!

Treasure Hunt

All About Butterflies...

Photos of a Caterpillar Hatching from an Egg 


Raising Woolly Bear Caterpillars


Free Butterfly Activity Kit to Download & Print

Requires Adobe Acrobat - Download Here for Free

Awesome Microscope Photos



Planting Your Own Butterfly Garden



Maze http://www.billybear4kids.com/butterfly/online-maze/monarch-maze.htm


Tic-Tac_toe with Butterflies



Find all the butterflies Flash Game




harder caterpillar Maze





Most predators have learned that the monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack.  The toxins from the monarch's milkweed diet have given the butterfly this defense.  In either the caterpillar or butterfly stage the monarch needs no camouflage because it takes in toxins from the milkweed and is poisonous to predators.  Many animals advertise their poisonous nature with bright colors... just like the monarch!

Can you see the difference?

Still can't tell them apart?  Notice that black stripe on the bottom wings of the Viceroy.  That's the give-away!  It's easily seen in the photos, but birds flying overhead looking for lunch cannot distinguish between the two.

Scientific genus and species:  Danaus plexippus


Monarch Butterfly On-Line Jigsaw Puzzles

(Puzzle 1:  Butterfly)   (Puzzle 2:  Caterpillar)   (Puzzle 3:  Butterflies)


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.