Eggs   | Small caterpillars |   Large caterpillars |   Chrysalis |   Hatching |   Old age

The monarch life cycle. Pictures on this and the following pages show important moments in the lives of monarch butterflies — whose eggs and caterpillars spend their lives on milkweed plants. Without milkweed to eat, monarch caterpillars will starve.

The picture shows a female monarch butterfly laying a single egg on a milkweed leaf. CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Note the cream color of this monarch egg. CLICK TO LEARN MORE
This monarch butterfly egg was laid in an unusual place. Most eggs are laid singly, beneath milkweed leaves, but I watched this butterfly place hers on the tip of a small flower bud. Note the bullet shape, which is about 1.2 millimeters long (less than 1/32 inch).
Bird's eye view of a monarch egg. Dark material at the top is a tiny caterpillar, shortly before it ate a hole in the eggshell and hatched.

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