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Butterflies on Bonaire – Monarch

The Monarch or Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is one of the butterflies you can often see on Bonaire, especially during or just after the raining season in the beginning of the year. This butterfly is spread out over the mainland of North and South America as well as the islands. Also, the Monarch is still expanding its living areas across the world like Europe and Asia.

When you are exploring Bonaire you might come across this butterfly a lot of times, all across the island. You can see the butterfly at every spot with some flowering plants or trees and in and after the rainy season you can see them a lot along the road to Thousand steps, near Playa Frans and in gardens in Rincon and Kralendijk. It is easy to distinguish this butterfly from others on Bonaire, from a distance the orange color might look a bit like the Gulf Fritillary but when you are closer you can see the beautiful red/orange and the bold black lines on the wings.

The caterpillar of this butterfly is nice black-white-yellow striped and its colors indicate that it is poisonous, not many animals will try to eat it. On Bonaire the caterpillar of this butterfly will mostly live on a certain species of Gossypium, a cotton. Interesting fact in the history of Bonaire is that around 1837 the Dutch government tried to grow cotton plants but they couldn’t harvest much because all plants were eaten by caterpillars. The culprit might be the Monarch.

Monarch butterfly on Bonaire
Monarch butterfly on Bonaire

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