Caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Species: D. plexippu
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Common Name: Monarch Butterfly
The monarch arrived in New Zealand about 120 years` ago crossing the Pacific from North America. It is New Zealans largest resident butterfly. Its caterpillars food is the Swan plant ( Gomphocarpus) . Their live cycle is two weeks as a caterpillar, two weeks as a chrysalis and about two months as a butterfly.
Female Monarchs have darker veins on their wings, and the males have a black spot in the center of each hindwing from which pheromones are released. Males are also slightly larger. See photo at bottom of this page.
A monarch butterfly caterpillars
The caterpillar has just attached itself to a branch in preperation of forming a chrysalis
The next stage of forming a chrysalis
The monarch butterfly chrysalis
The monarch butterfly chrysalis with the developing butterfly's wing patterns just visable.
A chrysalis on a swan plant
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