So many different colours!

There's a Monarch caterpillar! Wait, there's another one! HEY! How come they aren't the same colour? What's going on?

Monarch caterpillars's colouring is comprised of black, yellow, and white stripes. Generally, there is about 50% black, 25% yellow and 25% white striping on the caterpillar. Sometimes, there is more black though (the black stripes are thick). Then again, sometimes, the yellow stripes are thicker! Why is this?

few people have done some research and have theories as to why this occurs. The hypothesis was that since black absorbs light, caterpillars in cooler climes would be darker. Those in warmer climes would be lighter.

Some research was done and sure enough, when the caterpillars hat
ch and grow in cooler climates/environments, they tend to have thicker black stripes. Black absorbs heat, which helps the caterpillar regulate its body temperature. In warmer climates/environments, it has been noted that Monarch caterpillars have thicker yellow stripes since the lighter colour reflects sunlight, thus keeping the larvae cooler!

There has been some known Monarch larvae called 'Zebra' because they lack the yellow pigment and are only black and white! These have a genetic mutation. Their chrysalides are a lighter colour, more towards the blue spectrum, yet the butterflies that eclose are no different than a regularly-coloured Monarch caterpillar.

Note on Photos & Content

All pictures and content on MyMonarchGuide are the copyright of tdogmom/MonarchFriend. Permission is granted for personal and educational use only.

some of the adorable clip art found on this website is used with the express written permission of D.J. Inkers