The Monarch is one of the most widely recognized butterflies in the United States. It’s also one of the largest, with a wingspan of 3½” to 5”. The Monarch caterpillar feeds on the leaves of milkweed plants. A chemical from the milkweed makes the caterpillar (and thus the butterfly) distasteful to predators. Monarch migration is a well-studied phenomenon. They go to California and Mexico for the winter. The wintering areas sometimes contain millions of Monarchs. The Monarchs that return to our area in the spring are not the same ones that left in the fall. In fact, there are several generations in between, a fact that still amazes me. This photo was taken in the Miesville Ravine in Dakota County, MN.