the Monterey Peninsula hosts the best known butterfly noted for
its migratory journeys the Monarch Butterfly. Primarily a tropical
butterfly the Monarch species is part of the brush-footed butterflies,
whose main characteristic is the tiny forelegs that are useless
Butterfly larva feed exclusively on milkweed plants a fairly abundant
food source in its habitat range. The milkweed plant is a weed found
all along road sides and many rural areas.
The milkweed plants imparts a poisonous latex like sap. Monarch
larva eat the leaves of the milkweed and store the poison in their
bodies to repel birds and other predators.
Monarch impostor the Viceroy Butterfly takes advantage of the Monarchs
poisonous reputation by mimicking the Monarchs size and coloring.
Viceroy Butterflies live primarily in the eastern United States.
typically migrate 2,000 miles from Canada and Mexico and back again.
The butterflies lay eggs along the migration route, many generations
are laid in one year. The cycle change from egg to butterfly takes
about 4 weeks. Monarchs are 31/2-4" (88-100 mm) in size. In
Canada the Monarch butterfly is called "King Billy" in
honor of King William of Orange whose colors were orange and black.