Our Top 4 Picks:
The large and brilliantly-colored monarch butterfly is among the most easily recognizable of the butterfly species that call North America home. They have two sets of wings and a wingspan of three to four inches (7 to 10 centimeters). Their wings are a deep orange with black borders and veins, and white spots along the edges. The underside of the wings is pale orange. Male monarchs have two black spots in the center of their hind wings, which females lack. These spots are scent glands that help males attract female mates. Females have thicker wing veins than males. The butterfly’s body is black with white markings.
Monarch caterpillars are striped with yellow, black, and white bands, and reach lengths of two inches (five centimeters) before metamorphosis. They have a set of antennae-like tentacles at each end of their body. The monarch chrysalis, where the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis into the winged adult butterfly, is a beautiful seafoam green with tiny yellow spots along its edge.
The bright color patterns on some butterfly’s wings help them hide them from predators by blending in with the other colors in the garden. Other butterflies taste bad (or look like other butterflies that do), which is a warning to hungry predators to stay away. Some are even poisonous.