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"Voyage of the Butterflier XT" is the ninth episode of Season 1 of Wild Kratts, originally airing on PBS Kids on January 17, 2011. The episode was written and directed by Chris Kratt. On April 5, 2011, "Voyage of the Butterflier XT" was first released on DVD as part of Wild Kratts: Creature Adventures.
In this episode, using a monarch butterfly-themed adventure vehicle called the Butterflier XT, the Kratt brothers follow a monarch butterfly on its several-thousand mile migration from upper North America to Mexico. However, the journey is complicated when fashion designer Donita Donata and her henchman, Dabio, attempt to capture as many monarch butterflies as they can in order to make butterfly barrettes.
The episode begins with a live action segment. In a field, the Kratt brothers find monarch butterflies and monarch caterpillars eating milkweed. Afterwards, they ask their "What if?" question and the show transitions into the cartoon segment.
Aviva and Chris find Martin in his Caterpillar Creature Power Suit while searching for monarch caterpillars in a field. Martin introduces a monarch caterpillar he named Maxilla. The Kratt brothers then mention the several-thousand mile journey of the monarch butterfly. Aviva is surprised, and is inspired to make a butterfly-themed adventure vehicle. Meanwhile, at Donita Donata's mansion, Dabio is presenting animals for Donita to inspire her to start another fashion collection. When Donita feels uninspired by them all, Dabio finds a monarch caterpillar on the pool deck, but Donita tosses it away, and it unknowingly lands in her hair.
Ten days have passed, and Maxilla emerges from her chrysalis and gets her wings ready. Aviva unveils the adventure vehicle: the Butterflier XT, and the Kratt brothers miniaturize, get inside, and lift off. Back at Donita's mansion, Donita still has not thought of anything for her fashion collection, that is, when she finds a butterfly in her hair. Inspired, she plans on making butterfly barrettes.
After Chris, as the pilot, practices zigzagging while avoiding a tree swallow, the Butterflier XT bumps into Donita's car. Donita orders Dabio to capture the "butterfly", but he clumsily fails to capture the XT or any other butterfly. Suddenly, the XT runs out of fuel and falls into a milkweed bush. On the bush, the Kratt brothers witness a monarch butterfly sipping milkweed flower nectar with its proboscis while they fill up the XT with the liquid. A few days pass, and they begin traversing their first obstacle: the Great Lakes of North America. The Kratt brothers meet up with Maxilla and rest on a yacht for a moment. However, the yacht belongs to Donita. Donita notices and she and Dabio try to grab some butterflies, but fail to catch any, and the Kratt brothers and the butterflies fly away.
Donita finds out that butterflies migrate to Mexico for the winter around the time the Kratts brothers arrive in Mexico in a forest blanketed by hibernating butterflies. After four months of sleeping around the butterflies, Donita arrives in the forest. Dabio takes as many butterflies as he can put into a large hamster ball. After Donita drives away, the Kratt brothers wake up and notice what she has done. Chris calls Aviva and tells them the butterflies' predicament. Jimmy teleports them Butterfly Discs, and the Kratt brothers activate their Creature Power Suits.
Donita is shocked to notice that the butterflies she caught are dying. Meanwhile, after laying an egg, Maxilla dies in front of the Kratt brothers. "To keep that lifecycle going", as Martin said, the Kratt brothers and Aviva make a plan to stop Donita. Aviva finds Donita and traps her and Dabio in the hamster ball. The Kratt brothers present milkweed to the butterflies, and the butterflies follow them. Dabio tries to grab a few of them, but he instead rolls the ball, and Donita and Dabio roll and bump across the hills and onto a truck, which drives out of view. The Kratt brothers lead the butterflies to a nearby milkweed patch. The two and Aviva summarize the long-distance journey of the butterfly, and later follow the next monarch generation of monarch butterflies back to the north.
The show transitions into the concluding live action segment. The Kratt brothers witness a couple of butterflies starting to fly across one of the Great Lakes. After telling the audience how to help monarch butterflies, the Kratt brothers conclude the episode by saying "Keep on creature adventuring; we'll see you on the creature trail!"
Note: Featured animals are in bold.
- Monarch Butterfly: Maxilla, Maxilla Jr.
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (caterpillar, also adult in live action video)
- Tree Swallow
- Canada Lynx
- Gila Monster
- European Garden Spider (called spider)
- Peregrine Falcon
- Nubian Giraffe
- Chris sucks his thumb in his sleep.
- This is the first time an animal Martin named died.
- This is the first episode of Donita and Dabio without Zach.
- In some versions of the episode, Chris identifies the tiger swallowtail caterpillar as a clouded sulphur.
Key Facts and Creature Moments
- Whether it is north or south, the first stage of the monarch butterfly's life-cycle is the egg. A monarch caterpillar hatches from the egg, and it starts eating milkweed leaves. In a couple of days, it greatly increases in size. Then it transforms into a chrysalis, which reveals a monarch butterfly after a week or two. The butterfly gets its wings ready, and starts flying. As it journeys through many different environments, it sometimes stops to get energy from milkweed and avoid predators. Months later, it arrives at its destination, and begins hibernating. Once hibernation is over, the butterfly lays a few eggs, and soon after, dies. The life-cycle starts all over again.
- To defend themselves from predators, monarch butterflies rely on their poisonous bodies and zigzagging.