Monarch Butterflies Characteristics

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Monarch butterflies are bright orange with black and white markings on its wings. Males and females can be differentiated based on observing their hind wings; while males have a black spot at the center of each hind wing, females do not. These wings give males a selective advantage; they are able to attract female mates. Similar to migrating birds, the monarch butterflies use the clear benefit of updrafts of warm air, called “thermals” and glide as they migrate, to preserve the energy required for flapping their wings throughout the voyage. Studies show that monarch butterflies that migrate for long distances have evolved significantly bigger and longer wings than their cousins. These long wings have a narrow tip, thereby reducing drag and their large bodies assist them by carrying fat deposits in order to fuel the long journey. These traits are …show more content…
They cannot regulate their own body temperature and if it gets too cold, it becomes difficult for them to fly and warm up their muscles in order to continue flying. Monarch butterflies can only fly effectively as long as the temperatures are between the range of 60- 108F. If it becomes too cold during the winters, they look for light-coloured rocks or leaves in a sunny area and bask. It is essential for these butterflies to rely on the heat absorbed from the sun, which is why they stretch out their wings in the sunlight. They bask with their wings fully spread out to efficiently soak up the sun’s heat. This allows them to raise their internal temperature higher than the temperature around them. This explains why most butterflies have dark coloured bodies as they are exposed to sunlight for the majority of the day. Their dark-coloured wings are an important adaption for survival as they help them warm up on cold

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