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:

    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 is a monarch butterfly's life span?

    A:

    Adult Monarch butterflies that emerge from the pupa in early spring have a lifespan of 2 to 5 weeks. Monarchs that emerge in late summer survive throughout winter. Monarchs that emerge from the pupa in late summer and migrate south have a lifespan of eight to nine months.

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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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