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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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
August 16, 2014 Doug Bruce Overton County, Tennessee, United States August 22, 2014 Details
August 15, 2014 missjohnson Erie County, Ohio, United States August 22, 2014 Details
August 10, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Edgar County, Illinois, United States August 22, 2014 Details
August 17, 2014 Lauenstein Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States August 21, 2014 Details
July 30, 2014 mathgeek Jackson County, Illinois, United States August 21, 2014 Details
August 19, 2014 Smokin270 York County, Pennsylvania, United States August 20, 2014 Details
August 19, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Champaign County, Illinois, United States August 20, 2014 Details
August 16, 2014 LibbyMegna Goshen County, Wyoming, United States August 19, 2014 Details
August 14, 2014 Kimberly Mrozinski Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States August 18, 2014 Details
August 17, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 18, 2014 Details
August 17, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States August 18, 2014 Details
July 30, 2014 dawnieg8657 Cecil County, Maryland, United States August 16, 2014 Details
August 11, 2014 Sue Orlowski Grant County, Washington, United States August 16, 2014 Details
August 16, 2014 Ken42 East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States August 16, 2014 Details
August 15, 2014 AJ Trently Weakley County, Tennessee, United States August 15, 2014 Details
August 11, 2014 salvoj Warren County, New York, United States August 13, 2014 Details
August 11, 2014 Janet Tubb Ontario, Canada August 12, 2014 Details
August 11, 2014 Janet Tubb Ontario, Canada August 12, 2014 Details
July 07, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 07, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 09, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 18, 2014 abartels Menominee County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
July 31, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States August 11, 2014 Details
August 05, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States August 10, 2014 Details
August 05, 2014 shastamax Siskiyou County, California, United States August 09, 2014 Details
August 06, 2014 Molanic Du Page County, Illinois, United States August 09, 2014 Details
July 25, 2014 Wendelin Wisconsin, United States August 05, 2014 Details
July 18, 2014 khettich Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States August 05, 2014 Details
August 04, 2014 jennifereh Grundy County, Illinois, United States August 05, 2014 Details
August 03, 2014 digginflowers Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States August 04, 2014 Details
August 03, 2014 Valley Girl Ontario, Canada August 04, 2014 Details
July 31, 2014 cblazo Franklin County, Pennsylvania, United States August 03, 2014 Details
August 02, 2014 hmclin York County, Pennsylvania, United States August 03, 2014 Details
July 27, 2014 Valley Girl Ontario, Canada August 02, 2014 Details
July 31, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada August 01, 2014 Details
August 01, 2014 catharinejo Jackson County, Kansas, United States August 01, 2014 Details
July 30, 2014 NigelBI Washington (Block Island) County, Rhode Island, United States July 31, 2014 Details
July 30, 2014 Janet Tubb Ontario, Canada July 31, 2014 Details
July 29, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States July 30, 2014 Details
July 29, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 30, 2014 Details
July 21, 2014 hmclin Adams County, Pennsylvania, United States July 28, 2014 Details
July 25, 2014 Julieanogg Butler County, Ohio, United States July 28, 2014 Details
July 28, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada July 28, 2014 Details
July 28, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada July 28, 2014 Details
July 28, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada July 28, 2014 Details
August 31, 2010 doris potter Ontario, Canada July 27, 2014 Details