A extraordinary butterfly: The Monarch

Monarch butterflies ©Janet AllenMonarch butterflies, just released

Most people like most butterflies, but their favorite often is the monarch (Danaus plexippus). It's certainly our favorite!

Not only are they large and beautiful, but they fly slowly enough, floating through the yard, that they're easy to see and enjoy.

Add to their natural beauty and grace the fact that they make an extraordinary migration all the way to Mexico each year, and they're one of nature's glories.

Monarch on swamp milkweed  ©Janet Allen
Monarch on swamp milkweed

Unfortunately, this migration is in trouble due to problems both in their summer breeding grounds (including here in Central New York) as well as in their overwintering areas in Mexico.

Climate change also is impacting the monarch in a variety of ways, both in its breeding grounds and in its overwintering areas.

Some groups are working on special conservation projects to try to save the monarch's migration for future generations of monarchs … and for our grandchildren's and their children's future enjoyment. We're participating in these efforts.

Myths about butterflies  ©Janet Allen
Unfortunately, the popular book The Very Hungry Caterpillar contains many inaccuracies about butterflies: that they eat junk food or any green leaf and that they build a cocoon.

Here's more information about monarchs and conservation efforts:

Food for the adult monarch butterfly is the same as for all other butterflies.