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The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No.

  • What does it eat? Milkweeds

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? No -- milkweed is a common roadside plant.

  • Is it rare? No, although pesticide run-off is threatening its foodplant!

  • What does it turn into? The beautiful monarch butterfly.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, it does well in captivity.

The Monarch

This cool caterpillar is always found on some species of milkweed (Asclepias species). They aren't too hard to spot, with their bright stripes of black, white, and yellow. The milkweed that monarchs feed on is protected by having poisonous sap, which in turn may make the monarch caterpillar poisonous to any potential predators. Not a bad form of protection! They are brightly colored and turn into one of the most beautiful and popular of all butterflies: the monarch. 

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The Monarch: Danaus plexippus

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