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
August 13, 2015 Donna Sue Maller Dawson Ventura County, California, United States September 01, 2015 Details
August 30, 2015 Brendamouse Allen County, Indiana, United States August 31, 2015 Details
August 15, 2015 Mendrola Pennsylvania, United States August 30, 2015 Details
August 30, 2015 pattiep9 Cook County, Illinois, United States August 30, 2015 Details
August 25, 2015 KZelewsky Du Page County, Illinois, United States August 30, 2015 Details
August 28, 2015 stephen stedman Warren County, Tennessee, United States August 29, 2015 Details
August 16, 2015 stephen stedman Putnam County, Tennessee, United States August 29, 2015 Details
August 29, 2015 darrengarey Wayne County, Michigan, United States August 29, 2015 Details
August 21, 2015 janakcyrus Cumberland County, Tennessee, United States August 28, 2015 Details
August 26, 2015 PopularOutcast Alachua County, Florida, United States August 27, 2015 Details
August 25, 2015 vickiels Clermont County, Ohio, United States August 26, 2015 Details
August 25, 2015 Bunniemom Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States August 25, 2015 Details
June 19, 2009 ncrosbyrd Cape May County, New Jersey, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 02, 2015 jenniferncole Morris County, New Jersey, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 15, 2015 aarongunnar Dunn County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 12, 2015 Mary Franceline Malone Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 23, 2015 mpeirce Delaware County, Ohio, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 23, 2015 Echoperedis Carroll County, Indiana, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 24, 2015 Tindomul1of9 Queens County, New York, United States August 24, 2015 Details
August 16, 2015 John Wilson Socorro County, New Mexico, United States August 23, 2015 Details
August 20, 2015 Pepitahyena Jackson County, Missouri, United States August 22, 2015 Details
August 14, 2015 brandahl La Porte County, Indiana, United States August 22, 2015 Details
August 16, 2015 Doug Bruce Overton County, Tennessee, United States August 21, 2015 Details
August 18, 2015 AnrkeyGrrrl Boone County, Missouri, United States August 20, 2015 Details
July 31, 2015 Tindomul1of9 Nassau County, New York, United States August 20, 2015 Details
August 17, 2015 Tindomul1of9 Kings County, New York, United States August 20, 2015 Details
August 18, 2015 Tindomul1of9 Nassau County, New York, United States August 20, 2015 Details
August 09, 2015 Claudia56 Putnam County, Indiana, United States August 19, 2015 Details
August 03, 2015 kirstensclay Nottoway County, Virginia, United States August 19, 2015 Details
August 17, 2015 Carol Thornton-Anderson Orange County, Indiana, United States August 19, 2015 Details
August 19, 2015 todonnell Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States August 19, 2015 Details
August 19, 2015 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States August 19, 2015 Details
August 14, 2015 PopularOutcast Alachua County, Florida, United States August 18, 2015 Details
August 15, 2015 datilson Giles County, Virginia, United States August 18, 2015 Details
August 16, 2015 datilson Giles County, Virginia, United States August 18, 2015 Details
August 10, 2015 Chesaloosa Caroline County, Maryland, United States August 18, 2015 Details
August 12, 2015 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States August 18, 2015 Details
July 30, 2015 kirstensclay Nottoway County, Virginia, United States August 17, 2015 Details
August 08, 2015 Rpm737 Florida, United States August 17, 2015 Details
August 01, 2015 Bowbender Ashland County, Ohio, United States August 17, 2015 Details
September 17, 2014 catmint20906 Montgomery County, Maryland, United States August 17, 2015 Details
July 30, 2015 Chesaloosa Caroline County, Maryland, United States August 17, 2015 Details
August 16, 2015 Dkr1975 Calumet County, Wisconsin, United States August 16, 2015 Details
August 13, 2015 shakespearenut Los Angeles County, California, United States August 15, 2015 Details
August 07, 2015 rjcohrs Hancock County, Indiana, United States August 14, 2015 Details
August 08, 2015 Tagnrocky Hamilton County, Indiana, United States August 14, 2015 Details
August 10, 2015 really4me Stevens County, Washington, United States August 13, 2015 Details
August 09, 2015 Carol Thornton-Anderson Champaign County, Illinois, United States August 13, 2015 Details
August 08, 2015 digginflowers Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States August 11, 2015 Details
August 02, 2015 marshallbw72 Williamson County, Tennessee, United States August 11, 2015 Details