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Photographer's Note

The Monarch Butterfly is the king of the insect world. Even though they are small creatures, they do phenomenal things. First, they develop from tiny eggs, to a caterpillar, become a chrysalis, and finally transform into a beautiful butterfly. They migrate, traveling great distances to over winter in a temperate climate. Amazingly enough, not one butterfly makes the entire round-trip journey. Winter butterflies are sluggish and do not reproduce. In spring they return to summer homes and breed along the way. Their offspring return to the starting point.

Danaus plexippus is the scientific name for the Monarch Butterfly. Related species in the family are found on all continents except the polar regions, wherever milkweed and related plants are found. It also provides the Monarch with an intriguing form of protection, since the milkweed juices assimilated by the Monarch make it poisonous to predatory birds. The beautiful orange color of the Monarch butterfly serves to teach predators that their intended meal might be toxic. Not all milkweeds produce cardiac glycosides, therefore not all Monarchs are poisonous. However, the warning orange color serves to disguise poisonous from the non-toxic Monarch.

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Additional Photos by Hisam Saker (hisam) Silver Star Critiquer [C: 15 W: 0 N: 3] (90)
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