Warming Up to Fly
How Does Basking Warm a Butterfly?

Basking in the sun is one way in which monarchs warm their muscles for flying. Scientists think that the color of the monarch's wings and thorax helps this happen!

Observe this photo and then answer the questions that follow it.

Click for a larger image.
  • What do you notice about the monarch's wing and thorax colors?
  • What theory (ideas) do you have about how basking warms a butterfly?
  • How do you think a monarch's wing colors affect the amount of the sun's energy they absorb?
  • How could you test your ideas?