After a recent study, scientists concluded that monarch butterflies infected with parasites prefered to lay their eggs on a type of milkweed plant that can fight these parasites.1
This particular type of parasite can be passed from a female butterfly to the eggs that she lays. After the eggs hatch, the parasites can cause the developing caterpillars to die. Many times, heavily infected adult butterflies have deformites and do not survive long.
The study tested both female monarchs infected with the parasite and also those that were uninfected. The female monarchs that had no parasites laid their eggs on different types of milkweed plants, showing no preference for one type of plant above another. The infected monarchs clearly prefered to lay their eggs on the milkweed plants that offered their young some resistance toward the parasites.
How do monarch butterflies know which types of plants will help their young to fight infection? One of the scientists claimed, “We have . . . found that infected female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on plants that will make their offspring less sick, suggesting that monarchs have evolved the ability to medicate their offspring.”1
Creation scientists do not believe that monarch butterflies evolved this amazing ability randomly over time. Creation scientists believe that monarch butterflies were created with this special instinct to lay their infected eggs on plants that will help their offspring. God designed the monarch butterfly to survive in a fallen world. For more information, see Kids Answers, Vol. 3, No. 2, and the Design Features Q & A
1Answers in Genesis, News to Note, October 16, 2010, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/10/16/news-to-note-10162010