1. The Egg
• Laid on milkweed plant
• Eggs hatch into larvae in about
2. The caterpillar
• Eats only milkweed leaves
• Milkweed is poisonous
• The caterpillar stage is 2 weeks long 2
3. The Pupa
• Forms a silk cocoon : The chrysalis
• Forms wings and adult organs.
• Pupa stage 2 weeks
Link to video of caterpillar creating chrysalis
4. The Butterfly
• Dries it’s wings and makes them strong.
It can fly now.
• Short life: about 2 to 6 weeks long.
• Adults feed on nectar from flower BUT poison remains in their
The whole life-cycle
The great migration
• From Canada and the US to Mexico.
• Fly back when spring comes.
• What does milkweed contain that makes it poisonous ?
• A form of a steroid (cyclic organic compounds)
• Cardiac arrester
• Poisonous to most vertebrates
Click on the image to get further information about the chemical structure of cardenolide.
Defense against predators
• Caterpillar : black white and yellow bands
• Butterfly : orange and black coloration
Warning of poisonous characteristics and
the bitter taste !!
Cardenolides as medecine
• Similar to digitalis (used for heart problems)
• Treat congestive heart failure
• The force of muscle contractions increases
Should not exceed the stated dose !!
Interaction with human being
• Can’t kill humans.
Still can run after a beautiful Monarch Butterfly …
• However, the plant is dangerous.
• Extremely dangerous to the eye, can cause blindness
Don't eat them ! (Just in case…)
• Monarch Butterfly, Volume 1 by David M. Schwartz
• Monarch Butterfly Biology & Conservation (Page 55) by Karen
Internet links :
• Interactions with Milkweed
• Monarch butterfly life cycle
Contact me :
• Rania Berrada: engineering student in TELECOM Saint Etienne
• E-mail: rania.berrada(At)telecom-st-etienne.fr
• Web page: telecomAcademy
Contact a professional :
• MONARCH WATCH : Dedicated to Education, Conservation and
• Website: http://www.monarchwatch.org/
• E-mail: monarch(At)ukans.edu
• THE MONARCH MAGIC CO: Jenny and Jon Hobson
• Website: http://www.monarchmagic.com
• E-mail: monarchmagic(At)hotmail.com