5. Magical Monarchs
One of our most beloved species is an annual migrant from Mexico. The Monarch's life cycle is truly amazing. Over multiple generations, it migrates northward to Southwestern Pennsylvania from its winter habitat in Central Mexico. In the fall, individual Monarchs will fly all the way back to Mexico.
Check out the video above, which was filmed in Washington PA in August 2020. You will see the adult female ovipositing (laying eggs) on a host plant, Common Milkweed. You will also see caterpillars feeding on Common Milkweed, the chrysalis, and finally emergence of the adult.
In this activity, you should find Milkweed plants and the different life stages of Monarchs. There are many different species in the Milkweed family. You can use iNaturalist to learn how to identify Milkweed and to add your observations. You should also include any observations of the other insect species you see. Please share pictures of any exciting discoveries so we can share on social media. Send to Connect2NaturePA@gmail.com. If you would like to further explore Milkweed and Monarchs, consider participating in one of these Citizen Science Projects, such as Monarch Watch and Journey North.