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Send an e-card to help monarch butterflies!

Declare your love of nature! Send an e-card to someone special and make a donation in honour of the amazing monarch butterfly. Select the number of cards you'd like to purchase and click the "Add" button. Along with a personal message you’ll craft at the end of your order, each card lets your friends and family know about these amazing creatures.


Select the number of e-cards you'd like to purchase and click the "Add" button. You'll have a chance to include personal messages at the end of the process.

Monarchs survive by eating poison

Milkweed contains small amounts of cardenolide, a foul-tasting substance that can be toxic in large quantities—which protects it from munching herbivores. But the monarch butterfly caterpillar eats milkweed with no negative effects. Predators dislike the cardenolide stored in the monarch's body, so they learn to steer clear of flittering things with orange and black wings—such as the similar-looking Viceroy butterfly, which has evolved to “mimic” the monarch in appearance to avoid being eaten!

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A monarch’s life depends on milkweed

Monarch butterflies migrating northward from Mexico stop along the way to lay eggs on milkweed—the primary source of food for the caterpillars. Adults normally live just a few weeks. The butterflies make their way north over several generations—arriving in Canada in late June or early July. Toward the end of summer, a "super" generation is born. These butterflies survive for seven or eight months, and it is they—the great-great-grandchildren of those that left the previous spring—who make the incredible journey south.

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Monarch caterpillars live to eat

Like all butterflies, monarchs eat nectar from flowers. But as caterpillars, they primarily eat one specific plant—milkweed—and can consume an entire leaf in less than four minutes! Milkweed belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae that includes hundreds of species and blooms in a range of brilliant colours. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) usually grows wild in fields and along roadsides—places historically blanketed with native plants. But milkweed has been virtually eradicated from farmers’ fields and roadsides, leaving monarchs in serious trouble.

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Monarchs return to ancestral trees

Though they’ve never been to Mexico, monarch butterflies return to the oyamel fir forests where their ancestors spent the winter hibernating before renewing the cycle with their journey northward. Each year, they overwinter in the same roosts—often in the exact same trees. Carried by rising columns of air, the southbound “super” generation feeds on nectar and helps pollinate plants. They don’t reproduce during migration. The monarch's scientific name, Danaus plexippus, means "sleepy transformation", because it hibernates and metamorphoses—from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

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Monarchs help pollinate our food crops

Monarch butterflies see with their compound eyes, smell with their antennae and taste with special receptors on the ends of their feet! Like all butterflies, monarchs have four wings: two hindwings and two forewings. (Do you know how to tell a male from a female? Males have a black spot on a vein on each of their hindwings. Females don’t have this spot.) Monarchs are beautiful. But that’s not all they are. They’re pollinators—like birds, bees, wasps and all other butterflies—part of the reproductive force that keeps nature’s cycles going.

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