University of Minnesota

Breeding and Life Cycle

5th instar monarch caterpillar on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) (Photo: Carrie Benham)

The basic stages of complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult) are shared with all other Lepidoptera, but you may be surprised to know all of the developmental details found in this section.

How fast do monarch caterpillars grow? What is an instar? Do they really eat only milkweed? The answers to all of these questions and more can be found in this section. And if this doesn't satisfy your curiosity, perhaps the FAQ will have your answers or you could Ask the Expert.

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