Monarch butterflies live on top of milkweed plants and they will not live in a place that does not have milkweed plants. Milkweed plants are poisonous to most animals, but the monarch has glycoside toxins that protect it from the poison.
These plants also help keep monarchs alive because monarch caterpillars eat parts of the plant and then the adult monarch butterflies are poisonous. This helps them avoid predators. Monarch butterflies will eat the nectar from many different species of flowers.
Monarchs typically live for only a few weeks at a time with five weeks being one of the longest lifespan lengths. However, monarchs that are born late in the year will live until the following spring. This generation will need to travel back down to Mexico in order to survive before making the trip back to the United States the following spring.
The monarch butterfly first starts out as an egg that is laid by a butterfly underneath a leaf on a milkweed tree. This egg then hatches into larva, which grows, or molts, into a pupate. From the pupate, the chrysalis appears and then the adult butterfly is born after it frees itself from the pupa casing.