The Minnesota State Butterfly is the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch is one of our Minnesota State Symbols. The Monarch is also called the milkweed butterfy because the milkweed is its favorite food. The Monarch was designated as the state butterfly in 1998.
We raised our five kids on a hobby farm in central Minnesota. Milkweed plants were abundant on the farm therefore Monarch butterflies were everywhere in summer.
Sadly, that is no longer the case. The Monarch population has decreased by 90% since the 1990's. This is due to increased population growth in their breeding areas as well as environmental threats.A good book to help us understand what Monarchs need to survive and thrive is Monarchs and Milkweed
A favorite activity of our children was to "raise butterflies." Here is how we did this:
This photo was taken in September, 2016 by our niece.You can help save Monarch Butterflys by planting Milkweek in your garden. Learn how: Save Our Monarchs
The Minnesota State Butterfly does what some other residents of the state do in winter. It heads south! While most species of butterfly live their lives in one location, the Monarch is famous for being a migrating butterfly.
They are found as far north as Canada, yet migrate south to Mexico and Baja California.
A Monarch butterfly lives about four weeks so, obviously they do not all make the trip south. Usually there are four cycles, or generations, of Monarchs that hatch during a Minnesota summer. Those who come last are the ones who migrate to a warmer climate. These butterflies fly at a height of up to 400 feet and for up to eighty miles a day to reach the mountains of Mexico. They then spend the winter in semi-hibernation.