The monarch butterfly life cycle is a wonder to behold. In just over a month these magnificent insects make more changes than some humans will make in a lifetime! 


Development rates are temperature dependent. Monarchs develop more quickly in warm temperatures and more slowly in cool temperatures.


Monarchs, like other butterflies and moths, undergo complete metamorphosis. The monarch has four distinct life stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. The egg and caterpillar stages occur only on species of milkweed (genus Asclepias). Female monarchs only lay eggs on milkweed plants. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed whereas adults survive by nectaring on a variety of flowering plants.