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!