Virtual Learning Center

Some awesome photos and videos courtesy of T. and L. Shaw

The following video shows a Monarch butterfly newly emerged from its chrysalis. Initially, the wings are wet and folded and the Monarch will hang until they are dry and it will then be able to fly. (video courtesy of Lorrie Shaw from the MPNC educational colony 2019)

The following video shows a Monarch caterpillar forming it’s chrysalis. (time-lapse video courtesy of Lorrie Shaw, from the educational colony at MPNC 2019)



  • Chrysalis-hard exoskeleton that protects the developing butterfly underneath (cocoons are specific to moths and made of silk that protect the developing moth).
  • Pheromone spot– found on male monarch that secretes a chemical to attract the female monarch.
  • Host plant– Milkweed is the host plant for the monarch, the only plant monarchs will lay their eggs on.
  • Nectar plants– the plants butterflies get nourishment from in the form of nectar.

Fun Facts

  • The way to tell whether a Monarch is male or female is that the males have two black spots (pheromone spots) that the females don’t. (as shown in the photos below from Deanna B.)
Female Monarch
Male Monarch
male monarch


  • The numbers of Monarch butterflies are in decline. To better study their migration and numbers many will be tagged, as shown below. If you see a tagged Monarch, report it to

Ways you can help

  • Plant milkweed, especially swamp milkweed, common milkweed or butterfly weed
  • Plant native flowering plants
  • Don’t use pesticides
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