Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
Egg - A Mated Female lays an Egg on a HOSTPLANT. In the case of Monarch butterflies the host plant is some variety of milkweed plant. The egg hatches out in about two or three days. Look for eggs on new growth or on the undersides of leaves.
Caterpillar or Larva - The eating and growing stage. during this stage, most caterpillars increase in size about 2000-3000 times. Most caterpillars eat and grow from 10 days to 3 weeks to reach full size. Caterpillars must shed their skin or "molt" 4-5 times as they grow. the stage between each molt is called an "instar." Caterpillars have strong chewing madibles and need lots of fresh leaves.
Chrysalis or Pupa - The chrysalis stage lasts from 1 to several weeks, depending on the species and season. Most butterflies, including the Monarch, hang head downwards. Metamorphosis (change in form) takes place during this stage.
Adult - Adult butterflies do not grow in size. Most butterflies live from about 2 weeks to a few months. Adult butterflies eat with a "tongue" or proboscis, a double-barrelled straw that limits adult butterflies to a liquid diet. Adult monarch butterflies will eat nectar from many different types of flowers, not just milkweed flowers. Adult butterflies court and mate. Mated Female Lays Eggs