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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The map below displays all BAMONA data for this species and has three different data layers:
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Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
October 06, 2014 amdurso Wake County, North Carolina, United States October 18, 2014 Details
October 12, 2014 John LeBlanc Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States October 18, 2014 Details
October 14, 2014 John LeBlanc Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States October 18, 2014 Details
September 12, 2014 wade.deyoung Montgomery County, Maryland, United States October 18, 2014 Details
September 12, 2014 wade.deyoung Montgomery County, Maryland, United States October 18, 2014 Details
October 17, 2014 stephen stedman Putnam County, Tennessee, United States October 18, 2014 Details
July 12, 2014 DefiantNX74205 Orange County, California, United States October 18, 2014 Details
September 14, 2014 prairie fairie Otter Tail County, Minnesota, United States October 14, 2014 Details
September 19, 2014 patricia silvernail Jackson County, Georgia, United States October 14, 2014 Details
July 04, 2014 Jeanne Dammarell Lincoln County, Washington, United States October 14, 2014 Details
September 02, 2014 Jeanne Dammarell Lincoln County, Washington, United States October 14, 2014 Details
October 08, 2014 Doug Bruce McNairy County, Tennessee, United States October 11, 2014 Details
September 29, 2014 John Wilson Socorro County, New Mexico, United States October 09, 2014 Details
July 23, 2014 jessicad824 Pittsylvania County, Virginia, United States October 08, 2014 Details
October 06, 2014 fifthgenerationdeb Pima County, Arizona, United States October 08, 2014 Details
October 07, 2014 JOHN CORALLO San Mateo County, California, United States October 07, 2014 Details
October 05, 2014 stephen stedman Henderson County, Tennessee, United States October 06, 2014 Details
October 04, 2014 John LeBlanc Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States October 05, 2014 Details
October 05, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States October 05, 2014 Details
October 04, 2014 stephen stedman Houston County, Tennessee, United States October 04, 2014 Details
October 04, 2014 arcturusangel Texas, United States, Wood County October 04, 2014 Details
September 20, 2014 mellielong Lawrence County, Kentucky, United States October 03, 2014 Details
September 25, 2014 Mary Franceline Malone Powhatan County, Virginia, United States October 02, 2014 Details
September 26, 2014 tom nolan Cape May County, New Jersey, United States October 02, 2014 Details
September 20, 2014 robbyndrake Erie County, New York, United States October 02, 2014 Details
October 02, 2014 stephen stedman Sequatchie County, Tennessee, United States October 02, 2014 Details
September 29, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 30, 2014 Details
September 29, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 30, 2014 Details
September 28, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 30, 2014 Details
September 28, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 30, 2014 Details
September 23, 2014 NigelBI Washington (Block Island) County, Rhode Island, United States September 29, 2014 Details
September 28, 2014 systanfield Richland County, South Carolina, United States September 29, 2014 Details
September 26, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States September 29, 2014 Details
July 04, 2014 WendyJG Winnebago County, Illinois, United States September 28, 2014 Details
September 23, 2014 erinlamothe Orange County, California, United States September 27, 2014 Details
September 23, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 27, 2014 Details
September 20, 2014 Mary Franceline Malone Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States September 26, 2014 Details
August 15, 2014 AnyaOnion Ramsey County, Minnesota, United States September 25, 2014 Details
September 23, 2014 jim8435wisc Adams County, Wisconsin, United States September 25, 2014 Details
September 24, 2014 Cherylee Black Ontario, Canada September 25, 2014 Details
August 07, 2014 dpitcher Erie County, Ohio, United States September 24, 2014 Details
August 18, 2014 bttcbarb Bergen County, New Jersey, United States September 24, 2014 Details
September 24, 2014 missjohnson Erie County, Ohio, United States September 24, 2014 Details
September 10, 2014 Robert Gorman Inyo County, California, United States September 23, 2014 Details
September 20, 2014 Mary Franceline Malone Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States September 23, 2014 Details
September 17, 2014 mathgeek Jackson County, Illinois, United States September 22, 2014 Details
September 20, 2014 shadowhusky6 Cayuga County, New York, United States September 21, 2014 Details
September 17, 2014 dendroica5 Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States September 18, 2014 Details
September 17, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 18, 2014 Details
September 18, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Oldham County, Kentucky, United States September 18, 2014 Details