Two monarch butterflies, a male and a female linked together for mating, on the branch of a tree
Two monarch butterflies linked together for mating

To continue the life cycle and produce more of their kind, monarch butterflies need to mate. The female produces the eggs inside her body, but she needs sperm from a male to fertilise them.

When the butterflies have found a partner, the male will attach the end of his abdomen to the female’s to pass his sperm to her. They will stay together for several hours, sometimes with their wings folded together, hanging from a plant, and sometimes flying from one place to another, the male carrying the female through the air.

After mating, the butterflies separate and fly off in different directions. Each butterfly will usually mate again with another partner. The female will now able to lay fertilised eggs, and the life cycle starts again.