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Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly


Above is the life cycle of a monarch butterfly. Once the female lays an egg on a milkweed leaf, the journey begins. The egg stage lasts between 3-6 days (depending on temperature). Once the caterpillar hatches from the egg, it is considered in its first instar, which is a stage of development for caterpillars. Once the caterpillar reaches the fifth and final instar, it molts (sheds its skin) and enters the pupal stage, and becomes a chrysalis (also called a pupa). This stage lasts between 10-14 days when an adult butterfly ecloses (or emerges) from the chrysalis. 


Note: At the center of the life cycle is milkweed. Without it, monarchs cannot survive.

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