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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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 16, 2014 routledge_SaultCollege Mackinac County, Michigan, United States April 14, 2015 Details
April 13, 2015 Christian.Nunes Boulder County, Colorado, United States April 14, 2015 Details
October 17, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Orange County, Indiana, United States April 12, 2015 Details
April 12, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 12, 2015 Details
April 08, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 09, 2015 Details
April 07, 2015 redandsilverfox Fort Bend County, Texas, United States April 07, 2015 Details
April 02, 2015 Ken Bosso East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States April 02, 2015 Details
March 28, 2015 ezeemonee Santa Cruz Island County, California, United States March 30, 2015 Details
November 03, 2014 carlysummer San Diego County, California, United States March 30, 2015 Details
July 12, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 19, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 01, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 01, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 01, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 05, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 08, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 08, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 08, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 12, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 12, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 12, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 19, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 19, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 19, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 19, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
July 26, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
August 08, 2014 ellenjones6 Franklin County, New York, United States March 27, 2015 Details
March 15, 2015 The_Battus_philenor Butte County, California, United States March 16, 2015 Details
March 13, 2015 mellielong Hillsborough County, Florida, United States March 15, 2015 Details
March 13, 2015 ezeemonee Santa Barbara County, California, United States March 14, 2015 Details
August 09, 2014 monarchmn44 Nicollet County, Minnesota, United States March 11, 2015 Details
March 06, 2015 NJimenez0086 Los Angeles County, California, United States March 10, 2015 Details
February 26, 2015 LLJohnson Dominican Republic March 08, 2015 Details
February 19, 2015 MAKI Orange County, California, United States February 21, 2015 Details
August 25, 2014 pets_plants Monroe County, Indiana, United States February 20, 2015 Details
September 01, 2014 rjcohrs Hancock County, Indiana, United States February 20, 2015 Details
August 25, 1986 Indy Entomologist Fulton County, Indiana, United States February 20, 2015 Details
July 29, 2014 smgratton55 Elkhart County, Indiana, United States February 19, 2015 Details
February 05, 2015 NJimenez Los Angeles County, California, United States February 06, 2015 Details
January 10, 2015 Ranjit13 Los Angeles County, California, United States January 12, 2015 Details
April 06, 2014 KristyBaker Cameron County, Texas, United States December 27, 2014 Details
October 03, 2014 arcturusangel Texas, United States, Wood County December 21, 2014 Details
September 19, 2014 patricia silvernail Jackson County, Georgia, United States December 16, 2014 Details
November 10, 2014 Nancee Cobb Harris County, Georgia, United States December 16, 2014 Details
September 25, 2014 Mary Franceline Malone Powhatan County, Virginia, United States December 14, 2014 Details
August 12, 2014 J_Martineau Anoka County, Minnesota, United States December 12, 2014 Details
October 26, 2014 Doug Bruce Anderson County, Tennessee, United States December 06, 2014 Details
October 07, 2014 dbruce Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States December 06, 2014 Details
October 17, 2014 stephen stedman Putnam County, Tennessee, United States December 04, 2014 Details
October 06, 2014 fifthgenerationdeb Pima County, Arizona, United States December 03, 2014 Details