The annual migration of the monarch butterfly has captured the human imagination and curiosity for decades. How do they know where to go? Is it the same monarch that we see in our yards and neighborhoods that makes it all the way to Mexico? When do they know it’s time to return in the spring? In short, HOW DO THEY DO THAT? But their migration is only a part of their story. Monarchs and Milkweed: A Story of Survival takes you on a journey into the world of butterflies and plants, and introduces the complex relationship between monarchs and milkweed. We will explore how their very survival has been shaped over time by one another, as we travel through the seasons of a calendar year revealing how both insect and plant grow and interact, culminating in a massive migration that crosses a continent. Monarch butterflies have a unique, multi-generational annual cycle which means that this species of butterfly can migrate back and forth across North America each year, taking advantage of their favorite host plant’s growing season, region by region. The milkweed plant is the only plant that is eaten by a developing monarch caterpillar. There would be no monarch butterfly without milkweed, but would there be milkweed without monarch butterflies? The answer may surprise you. This exhibit explores the complex relationship between these two entities, as they each fight for survival in their own unique way, impacting one another’s development or success at every turn. The popularity of monarch butterflies is far reaching. Through this familiarity, complex topics can be made accessible and easily discoverable for visitors of all ages.
Moderate Security. Small lepidarium with live butterflies is an available feature, which would require daily maintenance and servicing.
North Carolina Arboretum