Q:

What is the monarch butterfly food web?

A:

Quick Answer

Monarch butterfly larvae feed on milkweed and a few closely related plants, whereas adults forage for nectar. Although both larvae and adults are toxic and bad-tasting due to the presence of stored cardiac glycosides in their bodies, they are still preyed upon by birds, mice and praying mantises.

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Full Answer

Birds that eat monarch butterflies include brown thrashers, grackles, robins, cardinals, sparrows, scrub jays, pinon jays, black-headed grosbeaks and orioles. Some of these birds avoid eating the parts of the monarch with the highest levels of glycosides, which is a strategy also used by the Chinese mantis. Others have a high tolerance for the toxins, which is a characteristic shared by some mice. Asian lady beetles eat monarch eggs and newly hatched caterpillars.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are butterflies herbivores?

    A:

    A butterfly is usually a herbivore because they eat plant nutrients such as nectar, however, there is one species of butterfly that eats meat. The butterfly known as the harvester butterfly eats other insects when it is at a larvae stage.

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  • Q:

    Where do monarch butterflies live?

    A:

    Monarch butterflies live on top of milkweed plants and they will not live in a place that does not have milkweed plants. Milkweed plants are poisonous to most animals, but the monarch has glycoside toxins that protect it from the poison.

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  • Q:

    How long do monarch butterflies live?

    A:

    Monarch butterflies typically live no more than eight months in the wild. The butterfly's life cycle starts with an egg and progresses through the larvae and pupa periods.

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  • Q:

    What are some adaptations of Monarch butterflies?

    A:

    Monarch butterflies have developed two main adaptations for survival: warning coloration and toxicity, explains National Geographic. As a caterpillar, monarchs eat a diet mainly of milkweed. Milkweed contains a toxin that causes discomfort in potential predators. To avoid ingesting the toxin, predators often leave the monarch caterpillar alone. The brightly colored wings of the adult monarch suggest, to potential predators, it is dangerous to eat.

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