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
July 23, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 09, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 08, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 15, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 17, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 18, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 22, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 27, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 01, 2015 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
October 26, 2015 Christine Stanke Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
July 09, 2016 Christine Stanke Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
July 29, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
July 30, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 09, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 10, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 14, 2016 Christine Stanke Portage County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 16, 2016 Christine Stanke Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
August 21, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 08, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 11, 2016 Christine Stanke Portage County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 05, 2016 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 15, 2016 Christine Stanke Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
September 15, 2016 Christine Stanke Washington County, Wisconsin, United States February 21, 2017 Details
February 16, 2017 the janitors kid Palm Beach County, Florida, United States February 17, 2017 Details
August 30, 2016 yardbird Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States February 10, 2017 Details
February 04, 2017 mellielong Pasco County, Florida, United States February 05, 2017 Details
August 01, 2013 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 02, 2017 Details
July 02, 2014 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 02, 2017 Details
July 22, 2014 Christine Stanke Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States February 02, 2017 Details
August 01, 2014 Christine Stanke Portage County, Wisconsin, United States February 02, 2017 Details
September 08, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States January 30, 2017 Details
September 22, 2015 sh11 Ontario, Canada January 27, 2017 Details
October 15, 2016 vision_m Bosque County, Texas, United States January 16, 2017 Details
October 04, 2016 Kzfisherman McHenry County, Illinois, United States January 10, 2017 Details
December 31, 2016 ButterBelle Broward County, Florida, United States January 08, 2017 Details
September 04, 2016 aarongunnar Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States December 27, 2016 Details
September 10, 2016 aarongunnar Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, United States December 27, 2016 Details
September 11, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States December 27, 2016 Details
December 26, 2016 Mardi Denton County, Texas, United States December 27, 2016 Details
December 08, 2016 mellielong Polk County, Florida, United States December 20, 2016 Details
December 13, 2016 the janitors kid Duval County, Florida, United States December 20, 2016 Details
December 17, 2016 Ken Bosso East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States December 19, 2016 Details
July 17, 2014 mothman27 Whitley County, Indiana, United States December 16, 2016 Details
October 14, 2016 Terry W. Johnson Monroe County, Georgia, United States December 12, 2016 Details
December 01, 2016 rhiona1975 St John The Baptist Parish, Louisiana, United States December 08, 2016 Details
December 03, 2016 Awedge85 Polk County, Florida, United States December 08, 2016 Details
September 20, 2016 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States December 06, 2016 Details
October 15, 2016 CA Ivy (Jon Ivy) Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States December 06, 2016 Details
November 02, 2016 CA Ivy (Jon Ivy) Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States December 06, 2016 Details
September 26, 2016 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States December 06, 2016 Details