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

Click on an image to view full size and to see additional details.









Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm3506.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm3506.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8667.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8667.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8636.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8636.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8642.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8642.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danauw_plexippusSammon.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danauw_plexippusSammon.jpg
Danaus plexippus - MaleMonarch-Simons.jpg

Danaus plexippus - MaleMonarch-Simons.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus5.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus5.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus2.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus2.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus3.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus3.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus4.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus4.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus6.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus6.jpg






The map below displays all BAMONA data for this species and has three different data layers:
1. All records (yellow dots)   2. Recently verified records (orange dots)*   3. US county records (purple)

There are also three base layers: 1. Satellite    2. Normal   3. Hybrid

How to use the map:
Click on the map and move your mouse to pan.
Zoom by using the plus [+] and minus [-] on the left side of the map.
To change which map layers are displayed, click on the plus sign [+] on the right side of the map and turn on/off the data layers and base layers.

*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.

See more recently verified sightings of all species.

You don't have Javascript enabled. Hover for more information! But don't worry: you can still use this web site! You have two options:
  • enable Javascript in your browser and then refresh this page, for a much enhanced experience.
  • click the Update button every time you want to update the selection.
Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
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
September 03, 2014 LunaMCEJ Oxford County, Maine, United States September 17, 2014 Details
September 04, 2014 Amyjrn Ontario, Canada September 15, 2014 Details
September 01, 2014 mhudson26 Pottawatomie County, Kansas, United States September 14, 2014 Details
September 12, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 13, 2014 Details
September 08, 2014 digginflowers Page County, Virginia, United States September 11, 2014 Details
September 06, 2014 Chris Blomme Ontario, Canada September 11, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 BeaLaporte Ontario, Canada September 10, 2014 Details
September 08, 2014 digginflowers Page County, Virginia, United States September 10, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 ydlrun Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States September 10, 2014 Details
September 03, 2014 stephen stedman Gibson County, Tennessee, United States September 09, 2014 Details
August 24, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States September 09, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 ezeemonee Santa Barbara County, California, United States September 08, 2014 Details
September 08, 2014 missjohnson Erie County, Ohio, United States September 08, 2014 Details
September 03, 2014 stephen stedman Lake County, Tennessee, United States September 08, 2014 Details
September 02, 2014 Doug Bruce Benton County, Tennessee, United States September 08, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States September 08, 2014 Details
September 06, 2014 dendroica5 Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States September 07, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 poolefam4nature Franklin County, Kentucky, United States September 07, 2014 Details
September 07, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States September 07, 2014 Details
August 30, 2014 b.cn.u Ontario, Canada September 06, 2014 Details
August 28, 2014 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States September 05, 2014 Details
August 14, 2014 Mapper Johnson County, Illinois, United States September 05, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 Colleen62 Ontario, Canada September 04, 2014 Details
September 01, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States September 04, 2014 Details
August 23, 2014 abwest Hancock County, Ohio, United States September 02, 2014 Details
September 01, 2014 Ken42 East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States September 02, 2014 Details
September 01, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States September 02, 2014 Details
August 28, 2014 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States September 01, 2014 Details
July 31, 2013 raptorrunner Thurston County, Nebraska, United States August 31, 2014 Details
August 29, 2014 lumpydave84 Suffolk County, New York, United States August 31, 2014 Details
August 26, 2014 jennifereh Grundy County, Illinois, United States August 30, 2014 Details
June 15, 2013 nickv27 Cook County, Illinois, United States August 30, 2014 Details
August 30, 2014 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States August 30, 2014 Details
August 26, 2014 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States August 29, 2014 Details
August 29, 2014 CA Ivy Adair County, Oklahoma, United States August 29, 2014 Details
August 19, 2014 Englishman Hernando County, Florida, United States August 28, 2014 Details
August 26, 2014 Jarchibold Saratoga County, New York, United States August 28, 2014 Details
August 21, 2014 dpitcher Erie County, Ohio, United States August 28, 2014 Details
August 15, 2014 Ansel Oommen Queens County, New York, United States August 27, 2014 Details
August 25, 2014 EPIMEDIUM McHenry County, Illinois, United States August 27, 2014 Details
August 26, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States August 27, 2014 Details
August 21, 2014 ktaylo Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States August 26, 2014 Details
August 15, 2014 Janet Tubb Ontario, Canada August 26, 2014 Details