Editors Note: This is the debut article for our new guest author Rose Bowrie. She will be writing periodically about whatever creation related topics interest her. Please join us at In His Image in giving her a warm welcome.
If you are anything like me, you have probably watched these beautiful orange and black winged insects flutter by with your eyes wide, and your mouth open, wondering at their beauty. Perhaps they have made you smile as they fluttered past you, in their search for milkweed.
Anyway, monarch butterflies are one of God’s beautiful creations, and they are pretty fascinating. Their life cycle starts when a female monarch lays her eggs on a milkweed plant. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, and they begin to eat the leaves of the milkweed plant. This actually makes the caterpillars slightly toxic to the birds and other predators who try to eat them. The monarch caterpillars remain in this stage of their life for ten to fourteen days. During this time, the caterpillar has eaten quite a bit of milkweed leaves. This is the point where the caterpillar then forms a chrysalis, or cocoon, and begins to transform into the monarch butterfly. The monarch caterpillar is in the chrysalis for ten to fourteen days. During that time, the caterpillar goes through an amazing transformation into the butterfly called metamorphosis. It does retain a lot of its original organs, like the tracheal tubes and its gut, though the gut does shrink. The caterpillar does not just turn into goo when it gets to the chrysalis stage. Its DNA is actually coded so that the caterpillar, when it is ready to go into the chrysalis, is basically washed in hormones that make it change. Whole parts of the caterpillar are changed so that when the butterfly is done, the chrysalis opens, and the butterfly makes its beautiful appearance.
The first part of the butterfly that humans notice anyway, are the wings. These wings are beautifully designed by God. The wings are made of membrane, which is intersected with veins. The veins on the monarch butterfly are black. The orange part of the wings are actually scales that cover the outside of the membrane. The scales overlap each other, and each scale only has one color. There are thousands of scales on the wings of the monarch butterfly. The butterfly will also not die if you touch the wings.
As an adult, the monarch butterfly will spend its day drinking the nectar of the flowers of the milkweed plant, and pollinating the milkweeds while it is drinking the nectar. The life of the adult monarch is two to six weeks long. The monarch will then mate, lay its eggs on a milkweed plant and then die. The only time this cycle is apparently interrupted is when they migrate.
The monarch butterfly, once the milkweed begins to die off in the northern climates, actually migrates down south, actually south of Mexico City, Mexico. There they stay for the whole winter, until the milkweed in the north is growing again. Then the monarchs start their journey north again. Funny though, the butterflies that wintered in Mexico are not the ones that make it to the north country. Their offspring do. Sometimes it takes a few generations of monarchs for the butterflies to make it as far north as Minnesota. The migration is good for business as well, as numerous states have businesses selling milkweed seeds so locals can attract Monarchs.
How they do this is something of a mystery. Monarchs weigh next to nothing and have no known ability to store energy. How they are able to fly 3000 plus miles baffles scientists. Their navigational system is incredibly complex, consisting of sun sensors, magnetic field sensors, and chemoreceptors. The integrated complexity of these systems allows a monarch to potentially land on the same tree its ancestors left several generations before. This incredible precision defies expectations.
These facts cause a problem for evolutionists. Monarch butterflies have a brain the size of a pinhead. How do they store all this navigational information? How do the offspring of the wintered monarchs know where to go? How did the parent butterflies tell them? Did the parent butterflies tell them? Obviously not since the parents do not care for the young. How then do the butterflies know when it is time to migrate, and how do they know to go south of Mexico City? Or north to Minnesota? Evolution has no explanation for this migration. In fact, monarch butterflies are such a problem for evolutionists, one creation speaker regularly uses them to demonstrate just how badly they demolish evolution.
The answers to the above questions, for a creationist are fairly simple. God created this monarch butterfly to travel and to migrate. He created the butterflies, and the milkweeds that they eat. God actually created the milkweeds first on day three, and the monarch butterflies were created on day six. Created by God, only three days apart. Now that is a caring God, who created the food source first, then created the insect who was going to eat the plant. He cared about the butterflies enough to make sure they had food when they were created. And He made them beautiful so mankind would watch them, and wonder.