These fall monarchs look exactly like all other monarchs. However, they are physiologically different, and emerge from the pupa in a state called reproductive diapause. Diapause is basically a period of suspended development; these individuals do not have the mature internal sex organs (Monarch Butterfly Fund). This allows them to stay alive until the next spring, when they’ll be able to fly north and lay eggs. This migration is the key part to success of the monarchs’ annual life cycle. At the end of the winter, monarchs end diapause, becoming ready to mate and lay eggs as they move northward. Once they become reproductively active, they’ll only live another few weeks. Their eggs then mark the start of another annual life cycle, as the first generation of monarchs is born again.
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