Friday, November 19, 2010

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly

You can’t raise Monarchs without the Milkweed family of plants. It is the sole Monarch caterpillar food source.

There are over 100 species of milkweed in North America. They are members of the genus Asclepias.

The thick, white milk (sap) of the milkweed family of plants contains lethal cardenolides (heart poisons).

They produce vomiting and sometimes death if eaten by a predator.

The Monarch’s tissues are miraculously not harmed by the chemicals which normally effect the nervous system.

This means the Monarch:

  • has few competitors for milkweed
  • caterpillar, after eating milkweed, has higher concentration of poisons than the plant
  • poisons are passed from caterpillar to butterfly during metamorphosis
  • predators stay away after one taste, however, Cardinals seem to think they are very tasty!

The Monarch’s total dependency on milkweed also means “no Monarch”.


Photographed by Craig Glenn on Milkweed in our backyard.

Thanks for stopping by!


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

WOW!! I did not know there were so many milkweed species. Love the one going to seed as a background to this lovely picture Craig.

Thyra said...

Lovely! Great photo. Those Monarchs are so amazingly beautiful. The name is just right.
Grethe ´)

Gary said...

As usual very interesting and a good photo.

Ruth said...

Beautiful picture.I am already waiting for the Monarchs,come springtime.

KaHolly said...

Stunning photo to accompany all the good info!! ~kaholly

Carol said...

What a beautiful picture. I lve the bursting pod. I raised and released 27 Monarchs..I now have 70 caterpillars feeding on milkweed in my butterfly house. At least 6 are ready to head to the top and pupate. You should check your milkweed and see if you have any'd enjoy watching them.

Country Mouse Studio said...

very pretty photo, I had no idea there were so many either :O)

Sreddy Yen said...

Oh wow, Nature is so interesting! Very pretty photo of the butterfly and the milkweed :)

Sreddy Yen said...

Oh wow, Nature is so interesting! Very pretty photo of the butterfly and the milkweed :)

Kay said...

What a stunning photo! We are seeing monarchs now vying with the queens for milkweed space.
Good blog! I'll be a regular reader.

vijay said...

This butterfly is looking nice....

You know during my childhood days i and my friends used to catch the butterflies and play with them but never did any harm..

but now a days even it is not possible to see butterflies in this busy cities....

nice post ..
keep blogging....

from dandeli jungle resort