Monarch Butterflies are migrating throughout the Skiatook area and laying eggs on milkweed plants, the host plant for the caterpillar.

The monarch is probably the most popular and recognized butterfly in North America. Possibly, because of its sheer numbers and the extraordinary fall migration it makes from all over North America to the wintering grounds in the mountain forests of central Mexico. Millions of monarchs make this journey each fall.

The butterfly is bright orange and black with white spots on the head and wing margins. The caterpillar is identified by its yellow, white and black bands and the paired black filaments on the head and tail.

While feeding on milkweed, the caterpillar ingests toxins that make it and the butterfly distasteful to predators such as birds. Photos show the butterfly with wings open and closed feeding on aster nectar and the caterpillar eating milkweed leaves.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.