7 Fascinating Monarch Butterfly Facts

Learn interesting facts about monarch butterflies, including how far they fly for migration and how to tell males and females apart.

Monarch butterfly poses on a flower.Shutterstock / John A. Anderson
Monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower

Not All Orange Butterflies Are Monarchs

Soldier, queen and viceroy butterflies all are mostly orange and black and look very similar to monarch butterflies, but they all have differences that set them apart. Here’s how to best identify butterflies in your backyard.

Monarchs Need to Stay Warm

In order for these delicate creatures to fly, their wing muscles must stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Create a monarch haven by following our guide to growing milkweed.

How Fast Do Monarch Butterflies Fly?

It’s all about speed (and distance) for these butterflies. Monarch butterflies can flap their wings up to 12 times a second when flying at their fastest. Give these butterflies a boost by adding these monarch-friendly fall nectar flowers to your garden.

Male and Female Monarchs Look Similar

The easiest way to tell a male monarch from a female is by looking for two dark spots on the hindwings—females don’t have these spots.

Monarch Migration is a Long Journey

These amber beauties could fly circles around other species. Monarch butterflies fly a long distance during fall migration, farther than any other tropical butterfly—up to 3,000 miles. Discover how magical monarch migration can be.

Monarchs Have a Great Sense of Direction

Monarch butterflies don’t need a GPS to locate their migration destination. Many of the gorgeous travelers find their way to the same exact location, perhaps even to one particular tree, where previous generations have wintered before. If you want monarchs to visit your yard, try planting a wildflower garden for pollinators.

Female Monarchs Lay Hundreds of Eggs

A female monarch in the wild can lay up to 500 eggs throughout her lifetime, and in captivity female butterflies can lay even more. Learn how to tell the difference between monarch eggs and aphids.