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When it comes to monarch butterflies, determining their life span is very difficult. They go through so much in their life, but we can split their life span into four different parts. For instance, the first stage is going to be the egg stage, the next stage is the caterpillar (also known as the larva stage), the third stage is the pupa (also known as a chrysalis) and finally, the butterfly will become an adult in the final stage of their life cycle.
When a female monarch butterfly lays an egg, it usually only takes a caterpillar about three to five days to develop and then eat through the eggs surface and break out onto the leaf. This is the very start of the monarch butterfly’s life span. While the caterpillar is only about 0.1 inches long (tiny!) and will only weigh about 0.55grams, it is a tough little guy and definitely one of the strongest insects of its kind. Usually, the body of the caterpillar will be covered with nine brown rings aside from black head and it features three pairs of ‘true’ legs with claws attached and five pairs of prolegs that extend backwards. Now that you know a little bit about the caterpillar stage, let’s move onto the pupa stage.
At the pupa stage of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, the weight has increased to about 1.5 grams and the caterpillar is roughly two inches long now. This is the stage that so many children find absolutely fantastic and an absolute miracle: the caterpillar stops eating, spins its cocoon and finally moves into the transformation phase of their life cycle.
Once the pupa stage is finally over, it comes out (emerges) and it is a butterfly! Now, after all that time, you are probably curious just how long an adult monarch butterfly will live. It all depends on when the egg was born, then when it hatches and becomes a larva.
To put a true average on the life span of a monarch butterfly, you would literally have to go all over the world. The answer is different all over and if you really want to know the full life span of a monarch butterfly, you will definitely have to do your research into the monarchs that live in your area of the world. In the USA, adult monarchs live 2-6 weeks if they are in the first 3 generations of butterflies in the year. The 4th generation can live up to eight months because they have to do a long migration. A few quick searches online should give you an overall pretty good feel of the life span of this beautiful creature.
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