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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Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
September 17, 2015 4oclockwatch Jackson County, Oregon, United States February 10, 2016 Details
February 04, 2016 gpstewart Texas, United States, Williamson County February 05, 2016 Details
February 04, 2016 gpstewart Texas, United States, Williamson County February 05, 2016 Details
January 16, 2016 mellielong Orange County, Florida, United States January 29, 2016 Details
September 14, 2009 Ilse Gebhard Kalamazoo County, Michigan, United States January 19, 2016 Details
January 05, 2016 SaunieInDiego San Diego County, California, United States January 06, 2016 Details
October 21, 2015 woodymw Lee County, Florida, United States December 31, 2015 Details
July 02, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada December 26, 2015 Details
July 02, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada December 26, 2015 Details
July 02, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada December 26, 2015 Details
December 18, 2015 ezeemonee Monterey County, California, United States December 24, 2015 Details
August 28, 2015 Josiah Gilbert San Luis Obispo County, California, United States December 24, 2015 Details
July 28, 2015 Terry W. Johnson Monroe County, Georgia, United States December 21, 2015 Details
November 17, 2015 Terry W. Johnson Monroe County, Georgia, United States December 21, 2015 Details
August 05, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States December 19, 2015 Details
July 31, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States December 19, 2015 Details
July 25, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States December 19, 2015 Details
August 05, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States December 18, 2015 Details
July 28, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada December 18, 2015 Details
July 23, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States December 18, 2015 Details
June 09, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada December 18, 2015 Details
August 18, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Emmet County, Michigan, United States December 18, 2015 Details
August 05, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States December 17, 2015 Details
August 15, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Chippewa County, Michigan, United States December 17, 2015 Details
August 22, 2015 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States December 17, 2015 Details
December 01, 2015 ncrosbyrd Broward County, Florida, United States December 08, 2015 Details
November 29, 2015 Selwyn Quan Santa Clara County, California, United States December 01, 2015 Details
August 24, 2015 merrymary Licking County, Ohio, United States November 29, 2015 Details
September 20, 2015 Cathy Miller Charleston County, South Carolina, United States November 28, 2015 Details
November 24, 2015 jammer2k Santa Cruz County, California, United States November 25, 2015 Details
November 19, 2015 cycad97 Kern County, California, United States November 25, 2015 Details
November 16, 2015 SaunieInDiego San Diego County, California, United States November 18, 2015 Details
November 01, 2015 n_meadows_jr Alexandria City County, Virginia, United States November 15, 2015 Details
October 12, 2015 n_meadows_jr Alexandria City County, Virginia, United States November 14, 2015 Details
November 09, 2015 Martin and Sara Chambers County, Texas, United States November 12, 2015 Details
October 07, 2015 N Weasel Santa Clara County, California, United States November 12, 2015 Details
November 11, 2015 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States November 11, 2015 Details
September 13, 2015 LMADSEN Adams County, Colorado, United States November 09, 2015 Details
October 11, 2015 PDunwiddie Denver County, Colorado, United States November 09, 2015 Details
November 08, 2015 PONYRCR Los Angeles County, California, United States November 09, 2015 Details
November 05, 2015 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States November 06, 2015 Details
November 02, 2015 John Saba Pima County, Arizona, United States November 02, 2015 Details
October 28, 2015 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States October 29, 2015 Details
August 29, 2015 carlysummer Ontario, Canada October 28, 2015 Details
August 10, 2015 littlesteph Merced County, California, United States October 25, 2015 Details
October 23, 2015 Siphils Butler County, Kansas, United States October 24, 2015 Details
October 20, 2015 whbauer Bexar County, Texas, United States October 21, 2015 Details
October 17, 2015 ButterBelle Blount County, Tennessee, United States October 19, 2015 Details
October 18, 2015 Tomas2015 Charleston County, South Carolina, United States October 19, 2015 Details
October 16, 2015 cowbug3 Jackson County, Oregon, United States October 18, 2015 Details