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

Click on an image to view full size and to see additional details.









Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm3506.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm3506.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8667.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8667.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8636.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8636.jpg
Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8642.jpg

Danaus plexippus - plexippusmmsm8642.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danauw_plexippusSammon.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danauw_plexippusSammon.jpg
Danaus plexippus - MaleMonarch-Simons.jpg

Danaus plexippus - MaleMonarch-Simons.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus5.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus5.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus2.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus2.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus3.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus3.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus4.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus4.jpg
Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus6.jpg

Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippus6.jpg






The map below displays all BAMONA data for this species and has three different data layers:
1. All records (yellow dots)   2. Recently verified records (orange dots)*   3. US county records (purple)

There are also three base layers: 1. Satellite    2. Normal   3. Hybrid

How to use the map:
Click on the map and move your mouse to pan.
Zoom by using the plus [+] and minus [-] on the left side of the map.
To change which map layers are displayed, click on the plus sign [+] on the right side of the map and turn on/off the data layers and base layers.

*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.

See more recently verified sightings of all species.

You don't have Javascript enabled. Hover for more information! But don't worry: you can still use this web site! You have two options:
  • enable Javascript in your browser and then refresh this page, for a much enhanced experience.
  • click the Update button every time you want to update the selection.
Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
July 29, 2015 JRonan17 Hamilton County, New York, United States August 02, 2015 Details
July 27, 2015 SpadGuy Tucker County, West Virginia, United States August 01, 2015 Details
July 27, 2015 SpadGuy Tucker County, West Virginia, United States August 01, 2015 Details
July 29, 2015 Buckeye Bruce Franklin County, Ohio, United States July 31, 2015 Details
July 14, 2015 John Wilson Socorro County, New Mexico, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 21, 2015 aarongunnar Dunn County, Wisconsin, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 27, 2015 787 guy Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 24, 2015 LoveYourPetExpo Shasta County, California, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 16, 2015 PONYRCR Los Angeles County, California, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 26, 2015 roseanna Pulaski County, Kentucky, United States July 28, 2015 Details
July 28, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States July 28, 2015 Details
June 07, 2015 idbirder Ada County, Idaho, United States July 27, 2015 Details
October 25, 2014 idbirder Ada County, Idaho, United States July 27, 2015 Details
July 25, 2015 Melinda Fawver Marshall County, Tennessee, United States July 27, 2015 Details
January 29, 2015 Ron Smith Pinellas County, Florida, United States July 26, 2015 Details
July 17, 2015 gunhilda Payne County, Oklahoma, United States July 26, 2015 Details
July 21, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States July 25, 2015 Details
July 20, 2015 jigamaree Houston County, Minnesota, United States July 21, 2015 Details
July 21, 2015 787 guy Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States July 21, 2015 Details
September 20, 2014 mellielong Lawrence County, Kentucky, United States July 20, 2015 Details
July 18, 2015 Doug Bruce Pickett County, Tennessee, United States July 20, 2015 Details
July 03, 2015 Cherylee Black Ontario, Canada July 19, 2015 Details
July 18, 2015 stephen stedman Clay County, Tennessee, United States July 19, 2015 Details
July 18, 2015 ezeemonee Ventura County, California, United States July 19, 2015 Details
July 18, 2010 mellielong Jackson County, West Virginia, United States July 18, 2015 Details
July 16, 2007 PONYRCR Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States July 17, 2015 Details
July 09, 2015 treichard Ontario, Canada July 17, 2015 Details
October 11, 2011 ncrosbyrd McIntosh County, Georgia, United States July 16, 2015 Details
May 14, 2015 ncrosbyrd McIntosh County, Georgia, United States July 16, 2015 Details
April 08, 2011 ncrosbyrd McIntosh County, Georgia, United States July 16, 2015 Details
July 13, 2015 Kzfisherman McHenry County, Illinois, United States July 16, 2015 Details
July 11, 2015 Selwyn Quan Santa Clara County, California, United States July 14, 2015 Details
July 08, 2015 aarongunnar Dunn County, Wisconsin, United States July 13, 2015 Details
July 08, 2015 aarongunnar Dunn County, Wisconsin, United States July 13, 2015 Details
July 10, 2015 maria.hoffman6@gmail.com Suffolk County, New York, United States July 13, 2015 Details
July 10, 2015 Indigo Horse Greene County, Missouri, United States July 12, 2015 Details
July 04, 2015 KZelewsky Du Page County, Illinois, United States July 12, 2015 Details
July 08, 2015 shakespearenut Los Angeles County, California, United States July 11, 2015 Details
July 04, 2015 JulieLuetzelschwab New Mexico, United States July 10, 2015 Details
July 08, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States July 08, 2015 Details
July 04, 2015 Brendamouse Allen County, Indiana, United States July 07, 2015 Details
July 04, 2015 Selwyn Quan Santa Clara County, California, United States July 06, 2015 Details
July 05, 2015 LepidoBot19 Madison County, Kentucky, United States July 05, 2015 Details
July 01, 2015 cblazo Franklin County, Pennsylvania, United States July 04, 2015 Details
June 21, 2015 tom nolan Burlington County, New Jersey, United States July 01, 2015 Details
May 27, 2015 Sue Orlowski Sacramento County, California, United States July 01, 2015 Details
June 30, 2015 Jo Bernofsky Missoula County, Montana, United States June 30, 2015 Details
June 28, 2015 abartels Menominee County, Michigan, United States June 29, 2015 Details
June 07, 2015 G Hanson Amador County, California, United States June 25, 2015 Details
June 19, 2015 jimard8 Madison County, Indiana, United States June 21, 2015 Details