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:

    How do butterflies eat?

    A:

    Butterflies eat by sipping nectar and other liquids through their proboscis, a tubular appendage that functions like a straw. The larvae of butterflies, called caterpillars, feed voraciously on plant material, especially leaves.

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  • Q:

    How do you attract butterflies?

    A:

    To attract butterflies, a garden should contain colorful plants that produce nectar and offer places where they can form their cocoons. Mature butterflies are most attracted to gardens with plants that will supply food for young caterpillars.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about monarch butterflies?

    A:

    The monarch butterfly, or "Danaus plexippus," is a common butterfly with a large habitat due to its migration from North America to central Mexico. However, this migration pattern is considered a threatened phenomenon, and both the US and Mexican government are taking steps to make sure that these butterflies are protected during migration. Monarchs are also found in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, Canary Islands and Western Europe.

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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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