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)

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
November 25, 2016 Jeff Trahan Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States December 04, 2016 Details
November 20, 2016 Awedge85 Polk County, Florida, United States December 01, 2016 Details
July 31, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States November 28, 2016 Details
November 26, 2016 whbauer Bexar County, Texas, United States November 28, 2016 Details
November 28, 2016 the janitors kid Brevard County, Florida, United States November 28, 2016 Details
November 22, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States November 24, 2016 Details
November 13, 2016 Doug Bruce Campbell County, Tennessee, United States November 14, 2016 Details
September 17, 2016 Doug Bruce Blount County, Tennessee, United States November 13, 2016 Details
October 31, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States November 09, 2016 Details
November 02, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States November 09, 2016 Details
November 07, 2016 the janitors kid Brevard County, Florida, United States November 08, 2016 Details
November 05, 2016 cosmic_cat Texas, United States, Wood County November 06, 2016 Details
November 06, 2016 Bonnie Morrison Howard County, Texas, United States November 06, 2016 Details
November 02, 2016 johngor Ontario, Canada November 03, 2016 Details
November 01, 2016 Marshrose Volusia County, Florida, United States November 03, 2016 Details
May 01, 2016 lwalters Tate County, Mississippi, United States November 02, 2016 Details
October 30, 2016 gunhilda Payne County, Oklahoma, United States November 02, 2016 Details
October 23, 2016 Doug Bruce Campbell County, Tennessee, United States October 31, 2016 Details
October 29, 2016 Mzteachuh San Bernardino County, California, United States October 31, 2016 Details
October 08, 2016 Geerda van Nunen Cook County, Illinois, United States October 31, 2016 Details
April 16, 2016 lwalters Tate County, Mississippi, United States October 30, 2016 Details
August 31, 2016 RobinKahler Wicomico County, Maryland, United States October 29, 2016 Details
October 26, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States October 29, 2016 Details
October 26, 2016 gregsnyder Texas, Tarrant County, United States October 29, 2016 Details
October 22, 2016 gpstewart Texas, McCulloch County, United States October 27, 2016 Details
August 14, 2016 Cekeys Montgomery County, Maryland, United States October 26, 2016 Details
October 19, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States October 23, 2016 Details
October 22, 2016 AmyNinRoundRock Williamson County, Tennessee, United States October 23, 2016 Details
September 21, 2016 Jeff Trahan Lafayette County, Arkansas, United States October 18, 2016 Details
October 16, 2016 cosmic_cat Jefferson County, Texas, United States October 18, 2016 Details
October 05, 2016 trinectes Wayne County, Indiana, United States October 18, 2016 Details
August 08, 2016 TheBrassGlass New London County, Connecticut, United States October 17, 2016 Details
September 03, 2016 tom nolan Burlington County, New Jersey, United States October 17, 2016 Details
October 15, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States October 17, 2016 Details
October 14, 2016 Mzteachuh San Bernardino County, California, United States October 15, 2016 Details
October 01, 2016 mathgeek Jackson County, Illinois, United States October 15, 2016 Details
September 01, 2016 trialsz63 Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States October 15, 2016 Details
October 08, 2016 stomlins701 Texas, Tarrant County, United States October 14, 2016 Details
October 01, 2016 taogirl Texas, Tarrant County, United States October 11, 2016 Details
October 03, 2016 rmorgan Denton County, Texas, United States October 11, 2016 Details
September 04, 2016 cosmic_cat Bossier Parish, Louisiana, United States October 11, 2016 Details
October 05, 2016 breck7348 Solano County, California, United States October 09, 2016 Details
October 07, 2016 Jeff Trahan Little River County, Arkansas, United States October 09, 2016 Details
October 07, 2016 Jeff Trahan Little River County, Arkansas, United States October 08, 2016 Details
October 01, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States October 07, 2016 Details
October 01, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States October 07, 2016 Details
October 02, 2016 billwx Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States October 07, 2016 Details
October 04, 2016 Tikipooo New York, United States October 06, 2016 Details
September 28, 2016 GYREAnne Park County, Wyoming, United States October 03, 2016 Details
October 03, 2016 Mapper Johnson County, Illinois, United States October 03, 2016 Details