If you live on the east coast of Australia like me, you’ve probably started seeing these little beauties as we move towards summer – Monarch butterflies.
Unmistakable in their colourings of white, black and orange, these butterflies are famously known for their mass migration.
The Monarch butterfly, also known as the Wanderer butterfly, comes from America and is only a fairly recent arrival here in Australia. According to the Australian Museum website, the first recorded sightings of a Monarch butterfly was in Sydney in 1871. And this happens to coincide with the introduction of the milkweed plant in the country as well.
We have a little patch of Tropical Milkweed, on our property. It thrives all year round here in Queensland and I often see ladybirds feasting on the aphids on it. Now I am also seeing the Monarch butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves and then the caterpillars eating the leaves.
The big, fat juicy looking Monarch caterpillars are quite noticeable in their bright colours, a warning to potential predators. Interestingly, the caterpillar and butterfly are toxic, but it has been noted that the Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes and Pied Currawongs are the only animals in Australia that have been observed eating them.
Have you seen Monarch butterflies at your place?