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West Lynn Garden - Auckland's hidden jewel.

MONARCH BUTTERFLY FACT_FILE. See the full life cycle of the Monarch butterfly at West Lynn Garden.

The female monarch can lay up to 300 eggs on the leaves of Milk Weed (Swan Plant), usually underneath the leaf.

In seven to ten days, these little white eggs turn into tiny caterpillars. The first thing the caterpillar does is to eat the empty shell.

For the next nine to fourteen days the caterpillar eats and eats the Swan Plant. During this time the caterpillar goes through four growth stages called instars. It sheds its skin each time and eats the old skin.

At the fifth instar stage the caterpillar is ready to pupate. It spins a silky thread, attaching itself to the plant and hanging in the shape of a "j" called a crochet.

Finally it's skin splits to reveal the green pupa, which we call a chrysalis. When it hardens little gold dots appear at the very top and bottom.

During all this amazing metamorphosis it loses its mouth, exchanges its sixteen feet for six jointed legs, grows two antennae, a set of rudimentary wings and two complex eyes with full colour vision.

When it is ready to re-enter this world, it picks a warm sunny day to do so.
After splitting the chrysalis and climbing out, it is a rather wrinkled individual, having been wrapped up in such a small place.
It pumps up its four wings and after they are dried it is ready for take off.

During the next few days it will feed on nectar to gain strength. They use their long tongue called a proboscis to suck the nectar from the flower.
Their feet have sensitive taste receptors to locate the nectar.

The female looks darker because she has wider veins on her wings. The male has two black spots or pouches on the lower wings which produce pheromone during courtship.
Now these new butterflies are ready to start another generation, and are on the lookout for a mate.

And so the cycle is complete. Let's do our best to look after them! 

Visit the butterfly house, a really exciting part of the Gardens.

From December through to April hundreds of Monarch buterflies can be seen, with lots of eggs, chrysalis and caterpillars - the full life cycle of the Monarch - a unique experience.

School parties, family groups and individuals are welcome to come and see the butterflies. 

The butterfly house is open when the garden is open. Bookings essential for groups of 10 or more. Visiting the butterfly house is included in the garden entry fee.






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