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
July 21, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 24, 2014 Details
July 20, 2014 Cherylee Black Ontario, Canada July 23, 2014 Details
July 22, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Ontario, Canada July 23, 2014 Details
July 23, 2014 Jennifer Jilks Ontario, Canada July 23, 2014 Details
July 08, 2014 Molanic Du Page County, Illinois, United States July 22, 2014 Details
October 15, 2013 anna_holmes Madison County, Alabama, United States July 21, 2014 Details
June 13, 2014 Aletha_pinnow Kendall County, Illinois, United States July 20, 2014 Details
July 20, 2014 Cecily Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States July 20, 2014 Details
July 15, 2014 Colleen62 Ontario, Canada July 19, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 Colleen62 Ontario, Canada July 19, 2014 Details
July 14, 2014 Cirsine Erie County, New York, United States July 19, 2014 Details
July 15, 2014 Cecily Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States July 18, 2014 Details
July 12, 2014 Linda Dressler Grant County, Wisconsin, United States July 17, 2014 Details
July 16, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 17, 2014 Details
July 07, 2014 ezeemonee Ventura County, California, United States July 14, 2014 Details
June 15, 2006 roseanna Pulaski County, Kentucky, United States July 14, 2014 Details
July 14, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 14, 2014 Details
July 04, 2014 Karen Adams Franklin County, Ohio, United States July 13, 2014 Details
July 09, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 12, 2014 Details
July 10, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 12, 2014 Details
July 05, 2014 treichard Sussex County, New Jersey, United States July 12, 2014 Details
July 11, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada July 12, 2014 Details
July 10, 2014 jim8435wisc Clark County, Wisconsin, United States July 12, 2014 Details
July 10, 2014 jim8435wisc Monroe County, Wisconsin, United States July 12, 2014 Details
July 05, 2014 ezeemonee Ventura County, California, United States July 09, 2014 Details
June 23, 2014 Debbie Taylor Pope County, Arkansas, United States July 09, 2014 Details
July 09, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States July 09, 2014 Details
July 06, 2014 Mabel's Los Angeles County, California, United States July 08, 2014 Details
October 12, 2013 julmast Elkhart County, Indiana, United States July 05, 2014 Details
October 22, 2011 JMJaskula Jasper County, Indiana, United States July 05, 2014 Details
June 29, 2014 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States June 30, 2014 Details
June 26, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States June 27, 2014 Details
June 21, 2014 jeanette@gorge.net Josephine County, Oregon, United States June 26, 2014 Details
June 23, 2014 juliereid Ontario, Canada June 25, 2014 Details
June 20, 2014 Mapper Johnson County, Illinois, United States June 23, 2014 Details
June 20, 2014 EW Lane County, Oregon, United States June 22, 2014 Details
June 21, 2014 EW Lane County, Oregon, United States June 22, 2014 Details
June 10, 2014 Amy Ghozeil Benton County, Oregon, United States June 14, 2014 Details
June 05, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States June 05, 2014 Details
November 29, 2009 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States June 03, 2014 Details
May 31, 2014 mudgrub12 Placer County, California, United States June 02, 2014 Details
May 20, 2014 DLS6 Orange County, Florida, United States May 27, 2014 Details
October 29, 2013 ddodd Marshall County, Alabama, United States May 23, 2014 Details
May 05, 2014 billbillt Harris County, Texas, United States May 22, 2014 Details
May 22, 2014 John Schwartz Kane County, Illinois, United States May 22, 2014 Details
May 18, 2014 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States May 18, 2014 Details
May 06, 2014 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States May 08, 2014 Details
May 07, 2014 bergerm05@gmail.com Lee County, Florida, United States May 07, 2014 Details
May 03, 2014 Englishman Hernando County, Florida, United States May 05, 2014 Details
May 03, 2014 CA Ivy Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, United States May 05, 2014 Details