Monarch Butterflies- The King of Butterflies

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The Monarch butterfly travels very far each fall.  Millions of monarch butterflies leave the Great Lakes and New York areas and fly to Mexico. It takes what is called the fourth generation cycle for this to happen.  This means that the first three generations do not make it to Mexico.  Some scientists believe they do this to get away from the cold weather.  Mexico has reserved and dedicated mountain regions as preserved lands for the species.  The butterflies stay in Mexico until the next summer.  Then they travel back to the Great Lakes and New York area where they lay eggs, and then die. The life cycle of the monarch butterfly that goes to Mexico is about eight to nine months after becoming an adult.  Butterflies have what is considered to be four life cycle stages. The female monarch lights on milkweed leaves to begin the process. The mother chooses the milkweed so that the caterpillar can eat off of the leaves.  The first stage is eggs being laid, the larvae comes next-caterpillar, and then is the pupa stage- the chrysalis and finally the adult.  The caterpillar is grown in around 2 weeks.  He then finds a stem to attach itself so it can go through the process of metamorphosis. During this stage of major changes, he stays inside the pupa and does not come out until he is a full grown butterfly.
Once the monarch emerges it is so beautiful that it is often called the King of Butterflies!

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Word Lists:

Caterpillar : the larva of a butterfly or moth, having a segmented wormlike body with three pairs of true legs and several pairs of appendages similar to legs. Caterpillars may be hairy, have warning coloration, or be colored to resemble their surroundings.

Chrysalis : a quiescent insect pupa, especially of a butterfly or moth

Metamorphosis : (in an insect or amphibian) the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages

Cycle : a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order

Monarch : a sovereign head of state, especially a king, queen, or emperor

Adult : a person who is fully grown or developed

Dedicated : (of a person) devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity

Generation : all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively

Stem : the main body or stalk of a plant or shrub, typically rising above ground but occasionally subterranean.

Scientist : a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences


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