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.
Milkweed consumption is crucial to the survival of monarch butterflies; larvae eat it nearly to the exclusion of everything else. Monarchs feature colors of white, orange and black, and grow to have a wingspan around 4 inches. The monarch butterflies of North America travel to the warmer climates of California and Mexico for the winter. However, only the monarchs that complete the pupa stage by the beginning of fall make the trip that can be thousands of miles.