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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