Amazing Facts That Will Make You Fall in Love With Monarch Butterflies

monarch butterfly
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Monarch butterflies are one of the most graceful insects out there, and their black and orange wings helped them become an incredibly popular butterfly species. There’s probably a lot you don’t know about these winged creatures, so we’re bringing you several interesting facts about them.

Intriguing Name

It’s believed that monarch butterflies owe their common name to King William III of England. Their Greek name “Danaus plexippus” can be translated as “sleepy transformation”, and it’s believed they’re named after Danaus, Zeus’ great-grandson, and Plexippus, the son of Danaus’s twin brother.

Great Migration

One of monarch butterflies’ most interesting traits are their migratory habits. They can fly for over 3,000 miles on their migratory journeys, which takes place over four generations of butterflies, in an attempt to leave North America for the warmer climates of Mexico.

Amazing Orientation

One study suggests that monarch butterflies are such great navigators because the ultraviolet opsin protein in their eyes helps them to orient themselves with the sun during their long migratory journey.

Defense Mechanism

Monarch butterflies feed on milkweed during their larval stage. In addition to being their main source of food, milkweed also helps monarchs keep predators at bay because the milkweed toxins can be poisonous for other animals, despite not harming the caterpillars.