So why are the monarch butterflies cooler than the British monarchs? Now don’t get me wrong, I love those Brits (I bought scones and woke up before dawn to watch both royal weddings), but I think the monarch butterflies are even cooler than William, Kate, and the fun-loving Prince Harry. Here’s why:
- One monarch butterfly can fly the entire distance from Canada to its wintering grounds in Mexico – no map needed.
- When it’s time for a caterpillar to become an adult butterfly, it surrounds itself in a chrysalis, totally liquifies, and comes out a “beautiful butterfly” (to quote Heimlich from A Bugs Life (image from allmoviephoto.com). I don’t know too many people, royals or not, who can successfully liquify themselves with no ill effects.
- Monarch butterflies eat cardiac glycosides (poison to many animals) while they’re caterpillars, making the butterflies’ bodies poisonous to predators.
- Monarch butterflies complete a transcontinental migration annually using 3 to 5 generations of butterflies!
- The monarch butterfly has its own IMAX 3-D movie: The Flight of the Butterflies! I just saw this movie with my kids. It’s no Transformers (it’s a very calm movie), but the story of the butterfly migration and the scientists who studied it is an inspiring one. Check out the trailer --