What’s that large butterfly perhaps you’ve seen lately? You know, the ones with the black and orange wing patterns. This week on Discover Nature we meet the Monarch Butterfly.
Monarchs are found in a wide variety of habitats including fields, grasslands, roadsides and home landscape plantings.
The monarch is a striking insect that’s common across the Show-Me State. They are distinguished by their relatively large size, orange wings with black veins and black bodies.
Many of the monarchs we see this time of year in Missouri are part of the massive southward migration of monarchs to their winter sanctuaries in Mexico. Though monarchs produce several broods during the summer and fall months, it is the final fall generation that makes the arduous cross-country trip. These same butterflies will return to the southern U.S. in the spring. Their shorter-lived offspring will continue migrating northward over subsequent generations.
Alas, Monarch butterflies’ populations are in decline due to deforestation in the monarch’s wintering grounds. Missourians are encouraged to plant milkweeds for the larvae and flowers that supply nectar for the adults.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.