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:

    What is a monarch butterfly's life span?

    A:

    Adult Monarch butterflies that emerge from the pupa in early spring have a lifespan of 2 to 5 weeks. Monarchs that emerge in late summer survive throughout winter. Monarchs that emerge from the pupa in late summer and migrate south have a lifespan of eight to nine months.

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  • Q:

    What do monarch caterpillars eat?

    A:

    Monarch butterfly caterpillars are famous for eating milkweed plants. Indeed, monarch and queen butterflies are called "milkweed butterflies" because of the food source for the caterpillars and a nectar source for the adults.

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  • Q:

    Why are butterflies becoming extinct?

    A:

    According to the World Wildlife Fund, butterflies like the monarch have been decreasing in population due to climate change. This decrease is evident in areas like Canada and Mexico.

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  • Q:

    What do monarch butterflies eat?

    A:

    The diet of the monarch butterfly changes as it develops, but adult monarch butterflies eat nectar from flowers, as do all other butterflies. The butterfly's mouth has a special design for collecting nectar including a long proboscis located under its head. This long device is hollow like a soda straw and unfurls to allow the butterfly to suck up the sweet nectar from inside the flower.

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