Monarch butterflies visiting Arizona for the season

Monarch butterflies, a truly regal-looking butterfly with gold, orange-yellow, white and black coloring, is now on view in nature – and places like the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterflies have a short but beautiful life

Some of the monarchs are migratory and might live for months while they migrate.  Others only live about a month.  Some are in residence at the Desert Botanical Garden’s exhibit until November 25.   They feed from the colorful nectar plants with their antennae.

Monarch butterflies sipping nectar and resting

Monarch butterflies sipping nectar and resting

Monarch butterflies require milkweed for nesting.  The butterfly’s larvae – the caterpillars – feed on the poisonous sap of the milkweed, which makes them poisonous, too.   So, they have a natural defense against other creatures, even when they are adult butterflies.  To keep the butterflies from laying larvae at the Desert Botanical Garden, they are not given milkweed to nest on.  They are given nectar plants so they can sip and get nourishment.

Monarch butterflies rest as night comes

Monarch butterflies seek warmth from the sun as they rest for the night

They may not live long, but their beautiful colors are very memorable.

Setting monarch butterflies free!

On many Thursdays at the Desert Botanical Garden, butterflies are let loose after tagging so scientists can follow their flight patterns.  The tagging allows the butterflies to be tracked and people may attend the butterfly launches.