The Ultimate Relay Race: The Monarch Butterfly Story - About Monarchs

"Parts of Monarch", The various parts of a Monarch, by enchanged learning, http://www.enchantedlearning.com/, Fair Use.

How do we know a Monarch butterfly when we see one? Or—here's a harder question—how can we tell the difference between a male and female Monarch?

Male and female Monarchs are easily distinguishable. Males have a black spot—see photos on this page—on a vein on each hindwing that females do not have. These spots are made of specialized scales which produce a chemical used during courtship in many species of butterflies and moths (although such a chemical does not seem to be important in Monarch courtship).

The ends of the abdomens are also different in males and females, and females often look darker than males and have wider veins on their wings.

No growth occurs in the adult stage, but Monarchs need to obtain nourishment to maintain their body and fuel it for flight. Nectar from flowers, which is about 20% sugar, provides most of their adult food. They use their vision to find flowers, but once they land on a potential food source, they use taste receptors on their feet to find the nectar.

(Thanks to Dr. Karen Oberhauser for the information in this chapter.)

Original Release: Nov 10, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Apr 29, 2017

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