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
September 26, 2016 dabidaloca Kern County, California, United States September 27, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 Boslwe Pima County, Arizona, United States September 26, 2016 Details
September 10, 2016 volleyazflake Maricopa County, Arizona, United States September 26, 2016 Details
September 21, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States September 26, 2016 Details
August 28, 2016 wjwky88 Estill County, Kentucky, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 monikawood Tioga County, Pennsylvania, United States September 25, 2016 Details
August 21, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
August 28, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 16, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 16, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 23, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 23, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States September 25, 2016 Details
September 19, 2016 mathgeek Jackson County, Illinois, United States September 24, 2016 Details
September 20, 2016 monikawood Steuben County, New York, United States September 23, 2016 Details
September 21, 2016 Mzteachuh Los Angeles County, California, United States September 22, 2016 Details
September 06, 1965 Todd Stefanic Butte County, Idaho, United States September 20, 2016 Details
September 02, 2016 rmorgan Denton County, Texas, United States September 20, 2016 Details
September 18, 2016 pcr Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States September 19, 2016 Details
September 18, 2016 Blazey Kane County, Illinois, United States September 18, 2016 Details
September 16, 2016 Jlacorte1977 Suffolk County, New York, United States September 17, 2016 Details
September 15, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 17, 2016 Details
September 16, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 17, 2016 Details
August 22, 2016 c4c Montgomery County, Virginia, United States September 16, 2016 Details
August 27, 2016 Allen Gathman Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, United States September 15, 2016 Details
September 14, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 15, 2016 Details
September 14, 2016 RichHubie Mendocino County, California, United States September 15, 2016 Details
August 30, 2016 treichard San Diego County, California, United States September 15, 2016 Details
September 11, 2016 Chris Blomme Ontario, Canada September 14, 2016 Details
September 13, 2016 rdcpics York County, Pennsylvania, United States September 13, 2016 Details
September 13, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States September 13, 2016 Details
September 13, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States September 13, 2016 Details
September 04, 2016 Doug Bruce Obion County, Tennessee, United States September 12, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 12, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 12, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 12, 2016 Details
September 12, 2016 johngor Ontario, Canada September 12, 2016 Details
August 21, 2016 aarongunnar Green Lake County, Wisconsin, United States September 11, 2016 Details
August 28, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States September 11, 2016 Details
September 09, 2016 Jitschick Cleveland County, Oklahoma, United States September 11, 2016 Details
August 03, 2016 duff Larimer County, Colorado, United States September 10, 2016 Details
September 09, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States September 10, 2016 Details
July 26, 2015 abartels Menominee County, Michigan, United States September 09, 2016 Details
July 29, 2015 abartels Menominee County, Michigan, United States September 09, 2016 Details
September 08, 2016 Hailee Rae Champaign County, Illinois, United States September 09, 2016 Details
August 28, 2016 Kzfisherman McHenry County, Illinois, United States September 09, 2016 Details
September 03, 2016 Kzfisherman McHenry County, Illinois, United States September 09, 2016 Details
September 04, 2016 Kzfisherman Kankakee County, Illinois, United States September 09, 2016 Details
September 03, 2016 altairpilot Grant County, Washington, United States September 06, 2016 Details
August 30, 2016 Mzteachuh San Bernardino County, California, United States September 05, 2016 Details
September 03, 2016 Doug Bruce Stewart County, Tennessee, United States September 05, 2016 Details