West

Monarch butterflies fast facts

Lynn Randall

Stomping grounds: In the Americas, from southern Canada to Argentina

Massachusetts wingprint: Monarch butterflies are common in the summer from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands. From mid-August through early October, they can be seen flying south.

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Main nosh: Milkweed

Bud buffet: They sample 33 flower species, including asters and goldenrod, in the Bay State.

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Generational shift: Multiple generations of monarchs tour Massachusetts every season. Those “born” later in the summer can live up to nine months, and make it back to the winter homeland in central Mexico.

Winged warriors: Some milkweed contains poisons, so birds learn to avoid the toxic butterflies.

SOURCES: Massachusetts Audubon Society, Richard K. Walton

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