Attributes of Danaus plexippus

Monarch
Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Danainae
Identification: Upperside of male is bright orange with wide black borders and black veins; hindwing has a patch of scent scales. Upperside of female is orange-brown with wide black borders and blurred black veins. Both sexes have white spots on borders and apex. The Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) is a Mullerian mimic; it has similar coloration and is also distasteful.
Wing Span: 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).
Life History: Adults warm up by basking dorsally (with their wings open and toward the sun). Females lay eggs singly under the host leaves; caterpillars eat leaves and flowers. Adults make massive migrations from August-October, flying thousands of miles south to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. A few overwinter along the Gulf coast or south Atlantic coast. Along the way, Monarchs stop to feed on flower nectar and to roost together at night. At the Mexico wintering sites, butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. During the winter the butterflies may take moisture and flower nectar during warm days. Most have mated before they leave for the north in the spring, and females lay eggs along the way. Residents of tropical areas do not migrate but appear to make altitude changes during the dry season.
Flight: In North America during spring and summer there may be 1-3 broods in the north and 4-6 broods in the south. May breed all year in Florida, South Texas, and southeastern California.
Caterpillar Hosts: Milkweeds including common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and showy milkweed (A. speciosa); and milkweed vine in the tropics. Most milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators. After tasting a Monarch, a predator might associate the bright warning colors of the adult or caterpillar with an unpleasant meal, and avoid Monarchs in the future.
Adult Food: Nectar from all milkweeds. Early in the season before milkweeds bloom, Monarchs visit a variety of flowers including dogbane, lilac, red clover, lantana, and thistles. In the fall adults visit composites including goldenrods, blazing stars, ironweed, and tickseed sunflower.
Habitat: Many open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.
Range: Southern Canada south through all of the United States, Central America, and most of South America. Also present in Australia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.
Conservation: Overwintering sites in California and Mexico should be protected and conserved.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: Develop conservation and management plans for all wintering sites, migration corridors, and principal breeding areas.
Taxonomy Notes:

Images of Danaus plexippus

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Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

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The map below displays all BAMONA data for this species and has three different data layers:
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*The orange dots on the map provide access to information about the 400 most recently verified sightings of this species. Sometimes, there are several records at the same location. Use the table view to access these records.

By default, the fifty most recently verified sightings are below. Sort by Observation Date to see the most recent sightings, or filter the sightings by region to get a regional list.

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Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
June 21, 2015 tom nolan Burlington County, New Jersey, United States July 01, 2015 Details
May 27, 2015 Sue Orlowski Sacramento County, California, United States July 01, 2015 Details
June 30, 2015 Jo Bernofsky Missoula County, Montana, United States June 30, 2015 Details
June 28, 2015 abartels Menominee County, Michigan, United States June 29, 2015 Details
June 07, 2015 G Hanson Amador County, California, United States June 25, 2015 Details
June 19, 2015 jimard8 Madison County, Indiana, United States June 21, 2015 Details
June 14, 2015 aarongunnar Dunn County, Wisconsin, United States June 19, 2015 Details
June 13, 2015 cowbug3 Jackson County, Oregon, United States June 18, 2015 Details
June 01, 2015 Ioana Dallas County, Texas, United States June 17, 2015 Details
June 14, 2015 N Weasel Santa Clara County, California, United States June 14, 2015 Details
June 04, 2015 Nancy Asquith Santa Clara County, California, United States June 13, 2015 Details
June 10, 2015 Kimberly Mrozinski Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States June 13, 2015 Details
August 26, 2013 N Weasel Santa Clara County, California, United States June 10, 2015 Details
May 31, 2015 arcturusangel Harrison County, Texas, United States June 07, 2015 Details
November 12, 2014 ncrosbyrd Pima County, Arizona, United States June 06, 2015 Details
June 06, 2015 LoveYourPetExpo Shasta County, California, United States June 06, 2015 Details
June 05, 2015 John Wilson Johnson County, Kansas, United States June 05, 2015 Details
September 21, 2014 SaraJE Ontario, Canada June 02, 2015 Details
May 29, 2015 Cherylee Black Ontario, Canada May 30, 2015 Details
May 24, 2015 peterogers15 Brevard County, Florida, United States May 29, 2015 Details
May 16, 2015 sdbarker7277 Bledsoe County, Tennessee, United States May 28, 2015 Details
May 27, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States May 27, 2015 Details
September 19, 2014 GoldenRose82 Carter County, Kentucky, United States May 17, 2015 Details
May 16, 2015 Doug Bruce Knox County, Tennessee, United States May 17, 2015 Details
May 16, 2015 SteveHarbula Denton County, Texas, United States May 17, 2015 Details
May 10, 2015 azukoff Finney County, Kansas, United States May 11, 2015 Details
August 30, 2014 sharrie Henry County, Iowa, United States May 10, 2015 Details
May 09, 2015 Selwyn Quan Santa Clara County, California, United States May 10, 2015 Details
April 30, 2015 mellielong Sarasota County, Florida, United States May 06, 2015 Details
May 02, 2015 mellielong Hillsborough County, Florida, United States May 06, 2015 Details
June 29, 2014 Glenn Marangelo Missoula County, Montana, United States May 06, 2015 Details
April 30, 2015 ezeemonee Santa Barbara County, California, United States May 02, 2015 Details
August 24, 2014 Joe Spinazze Wasatch County, Utah, United States April 25, 2015 Details
January 16, 2015 DianaButterfly Los Angeles County, California, United States April 25, 2015 Details
March 29, 2015 mellielong Hillsborough County, Florida, United States April 22, 2015 Details
November 05, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States April 22, 2015 Details
October 10, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States April 22, 2015 Details
September 29, 2014 John Wilson Socorro County, New Mexico, United States April 21, 2015 Details
April 18, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 20, 2015 Details
April 18, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 20, 2015 Details
July 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States April 14, 2015 Details
April 13, 2015 Christian.Nunes Boulder County, Colorado, United States April 14, 2015 Details
October 17, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Orange County, Indiana, United States April 12, 2015 Details
April 12, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 12, 2015 Details
April 08, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 09, 2015 Details
April 07, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 07, 2015 Details
April 02, 2015 Ken Bosso East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States April 02, 2015 Details
March 28, 2015 ezeemonee Santa Cruz Island County, California, United States March 30, 2015 Details
November 03, 2014 carlysummer San Diego County, California, United States March 30, 2015 Details
July 12, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details