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How long is a typical cycle of a monarch butterfly?

I know I can’t do this until March, but I am having my students observe the full development of a monarch butterfly from egg to butterfly. How long will I need to have the students taking data (or how long is their life cycle?) Is there anything else I should know?

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2 Responses to “How long is a typical cycle of a monarch butterfly?”

  1. Andrew

    The typical life cycle is about 6-8 weeks I think. Usually you release the butterflies after they develop from caterpillars into butterflies.

  2. nino m

    I’m answering from Italy.Sorry for my bad english.

    Monarch butterfly is a very particular and beautifull butterfly.
    – Your students can have one month time to take datas,while the insect pass through the stages from egg to a complete developed butterfly.
    The pupa takes 10-12 days to ‘give light” to the adult insect.
    _ Than,about the cycle of life of Monarch :
    .The group of them that emerges in early summer has the shortest life span,2-5 weeks.
    . The group that emerges in late summer survive to the winter season.
    Both the groups,are not migrating.

    .The migratory Monarch,that emerges from the pupa in late summer and will migrate,can live 8-9 months !!
    Migrating takes 2000 miles and 3 generations of them for the whole voyage.

    Danaus plexippus is a poisonous butterfly(her caterpillar feeds on Milkweed ,that we know being poisonous) and predators avoid her. She’s mimiked from another,non poisonous butterfly :Viceroy .(Limenitis archippus) that uses this similarity to the other one to escape from predators.

    Your students could observe and take datas about the Monarchs that are not migrating and living in their areas.

    I hope that these information will be usefull for them.
    I would like to give you more,but there is not enough space.

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