Monday, December 27, 2010

The Monarch Butterfly by Chandler Spearman

                                                  The Monarch Butterfly                                                                                                            Figure 1

I.    Introduction
The monarch butterfly is the most popular butterfly in North America. Its in the phylum Arthropoda and its in the family Nymphalidae. In North America, the Monarch ranges from southern Canada to northern South America. It rarely strays to Western Europe, as far as Greece, from being transported by U. S. ships or by flying there if weather and wind conditions are right. It has also been found in Bermuda, Hawaii, the Solomon’s, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, India, and the Canary Islands.

II.    Anatomy
The Monarch’s wingspan ranges from 3.5- 4in. Both the upper and lower side of the wings are a shade of orange, the veins and margins are black, and in those margins are a series of small white spots. You can tell the difference between males and females because males are larger and the veins on its wings are narrower then females. The male has a black patch of scales that are responsible for dispersing pheromones (A chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behavior or development of other members of the same species) on the hind wings. Like all insects it has six legs but, it carries its front two legs against its body.
                                                                         Figure 2
                                                                              Figure 3


III.    Form and Function
Cardenolide aglycones make’s the monarch butterfly disgusting to all of its predators. Caterpillars ingest this as they feed on milkweed. There bright color warns its predator of just how un-satisfying they are, this is called “aposematism.” Monarchs have been seen on a number of different nectar plants, males will also take in moisture and minerals from damp soil and wet gravel, which is a behavior called “mud-puddling.” This is a nectar-ingesting animal.
A monarchs mating period is in spring, and this animal has a “courting phase” and its split between the aerial phase and the ground phase. During the aerial phase, the male pursues, nudges, and eventually takes down the female. Copulation occurs during the ground phase where the male and female remain attached for 30 to 60 minutes.  A spermatophore is transferred from the male to the female.  The life cycle of a monarch is spread out through 4 different stages and this is called “complete metamorphosis.”
                                                                          Figure 4

IV.    Impact on the world/humanity
The monarch is the state insect of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, and the state butterfly of Vermont and West Virginia. Many people like to grow a butterfly gardens to attract them with specific milkweeds. Others raise them for pleasure and mostly for educational purposes. The most impact it has on humanity is that for education.
                                                                         Figure 5

V.    Journal Entry

    This Journal entry talked about the famous 2,500- mile journey from Mexico to northern United States and America that these insects take every year.

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