Cooperative News

Learn five fun facts about monarchs

Visit PEC's butterfly way station

PEC is committed to environmental stewardship and protecting Central Texas’ precious resources, including the monarch butterfly. That’s why we recently created a stopping place for monarchs at our headquarters in Johnson City.

This way station, certified by Monarch Watch, is designed to help promote populations of monarch butterflies and other pollinators that travel directly across the cooperative’s 8,100 square miles.

You can get involved by planting your own butterfly garden. Stop by any PEC office to pick up a free wildflower seed packet.

Learn more about monarchs with the five fun facts below.

  1. They’re bright orange and poisonous. Monarchs eat milkweed, which contains toxins that can be harmful to animals. These toxins don’t harm monarchs because they’ve built up an immunity to eat most species of milkweed. In fact, the toxins work to protect monarchs by giving them a bad taste to animals that try to eat them.
  2. They weigh less than a paperclip. Monarchs can weigh anywhere from 0.75 grams to as little as 0.25 grams. And an average adult monarch weighs only about half a gram.
  3. They fly high. Although they’re fragile, monarch butterflies can fly up to 10,000 feet high.
  4. They’re picky eaters. Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars will eat.
  5. Overwintering monarchs live up to eight months, while other generations only live about two to six weeks. Monarchs that live in the summer have a shorter lifespan than other generations. The final generation of monarchs live the longest; this group is born in late summer and migrates to Mexico and back north again in the spring. It can take anywhere from three to five generations to complete a migration cycle.

See what else PEC is doing to help protect and preserve the Texas Hill Country’s natural faunae.