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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*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.

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Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
August 27, 2013 MCToshack Skagit County, Washington, United States April 24, 2014 Details
August 11, 2010 Martha Veasey Sawyer Montgomery County, Virginia, United States April 24, 2014 Details
April 22, 2014 RMichaelson Bexar County, Texas, United States April 22, 2014 Details
September 07, 2013 WendyJG Winnebago County, Illinois, United States April 21, 2014 Details
September 07, 2013 WendyJG Winnebago County, Illinois, United States April 21, 2014 Details
April 03, 2014 Ken42 East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States April 04, 2014 Details
January 29, 2014 janazak Morelos, Mexico March 30, 2014 Details
August 21, 2013 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 21, 2014 Details
August 21, 2013 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 21, 2014 Details
July 27, 2013 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 21, 2014 Details
July 31, 2013 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 21, 2014 Details
March 20, 2014 byewood Merced County, California, United States March 21, 2014 Details
February 22, 2014 sydni2003 Orange County, California, United States February 25, 2014 Details
February 22, 2014 sydni2003 Orange County, California, United States February 25, 2014 Details
September 12, 2013 sasurguy Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States February 19, 2014 Details
October 26, 2013 Terry W. Johnson Monroe County, Georgia, United States February 14, 2014 Details
February 07, 2014 jomarlin Palm Beach County, Florida, United States February 09, 2014 Details
February 01, 2014 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States February 07, 2014 Details
January 04, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States February 01, 2014 Details
January 14, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States February 01, 2014 Details
July 26, 2013 jr.berry Union County, New Jersey, United States January 29, 2014 Details
January 11, 2014 PDunwiddie Los Angeles County, California, United States January 29, 2014 Details
September 23, 2013 dixiesmith Larimer County, Colorado, United States January 27, 2014 Details
January 06, 2014 Macross Lake County, Florida, United States January 11, 2014 Details
November 09, 2013 Sparks7 Burnet County, Texas, United States January 01, 2014 Details
December 30, 2013 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States December 30, 2013 Details
July 20, 2010 Robert Gorman San Diego County, California, United States December 18, 2013 Details
August 07, 2010 diwalks2 Orange County, California, United States December 17, 2013 Details
December 13, 2013 RobZombi3 Ventura County, California, United States December 13, 2013 Details
September 24, 2012 cocodrilo San Diego County, California, United States December 11, 2013 Details
June 16, 2010 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States November 27, 2013 Details
July 16, 2010 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States November 27, 2013 Details
July 18, 2013 ezeemonee Orange County, California, United States November 26, 2013 Details
November 23, 2013 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States November 23, 2013 Details
November 20, 2013 whbauer Harris County, Texas, United States November 20, 2013 Details
November 17, 2013 whbauer Bexar County, Texas, United States November 19, 2013 Details
August 06, 2013 Zeus79 Macomb County, Michigan, United States November 15, 2013 Details
September 27, 2013 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States November 15, 2013 Details
November 10, 2013 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States November 15, 2013 Details
November 15, 2013 dstcyryn2 Los Angeles County, California, United States November 15, 2013 Details
September 10, 2013 rsmart Los Angeles County, California, United States November 13, 2013 Details
November 20, 2009 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States November 12, 2013 Details
November 10, 2013 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States November 11, 2013 Details
November 03, 2013 annhsatt Polk County, Florida, United States November 09, 2013 Details
November 09, 2013 Macross Lake County, Florida, United States November 09, 2013 Details
October 06, 2013 tstoddard York County, Pennsylvania, United States November 03, 2013 Details
August 05, 2013 nkroll King And Queen County, Virginia, United States November 02, 2013 Details
October 28, 2013 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States October 28, 2013 Details
August 11, 2013 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States October 28, 2013 Details
October 25, 2013 whbauer Bexar County, Texas, United States October 27, 2013 Details