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
August 20, 2016 crazyhorse Clay County, Missouri, United States August 27, 2016 Details
August 24, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States August 25, 2016 Details
July 15, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2016 Details
July 24, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2016 Details
July 27, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2016 Details
July 26, 2016 aarongunnar Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2016 Details
August 23, 2016 joep01 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States August 24, 2016 Details
August 21, 2016 aarongunnar Green Lake County, Wisconsin, United States August 24, 2016 Details
August 24, 2016 iwong51 Fayette County, Kentucky, United States August 24, 2016 Details
August 24, 2016 CA Ivy Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States August 24, 2016 Details
August 23, 2016 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States August 23, 2016 Details
July 16, 2016 Anne Wills Putnam County, West Virginia, United States August 22, 2016 Details
July 16, 2016 Anne Wills Putnam County, West Virginia, United States August 22, 2016 Details
August 03, 2016 Jonathan Clark Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, United States August 19, 2016 Details
August 17, 2016 digginflowers Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States August 17, 2016 Details
August 17, 2016 daclifford Somerset County, Maine, United States August 17, 2016 Details
August 17, 2016 Lipske De Kalb County, Illinois, United States August 17, 2016 Details
August 13, 2016 Doug Bruce Overton County, Tennessee, United States August 15, 2016 Details
August 15, 2016 SaraJE Ontario, Canada August 15, 2016 Details
August 12, 2016 Wendie Washington County, Tennessee, United States August 13, 2016 Details
August 10, 2016 Ansel Oommen Queens County, New York, United States August 13, 2016 Details
August 11, 2016 RichHubie Mendocino County, California, United States August 12, 2016 Details
August 07, 2016 holla for the environment Ontario, Canada August 11, 2016 Details
August 10, 2016 Chris Blomme Ontario, Canada August 11, 2016 Details
August 08, 2016 Cathy Weiner New York County, New York, United States August 09, 2016 Details
August 07, 2016 RichHubie Mendocino County, California, United States August 07, 2016 Details
August 03, 2016 ButterBelle Putnam County, Tennessee, United States August 04, 2016 Details
July 13, 2016 Carolesmith Allen County, Indiana, United States August 04, 2016 Details
July 28, 2016 Bdog San Diego County, California, United States August 02, 2016 Details
July 30, 2016 johngor Ontario, Canada August 01, 2016 Details
July 31, 2016 John LeBlanc Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States July 31, 2016 Details
June 25, 2016 emitter Prince Georges County, Maryland, United States July 30, 2016 Details
July 27, 2016 digginflowers Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States July 30, 2016 Details
September 26, 2015 Benjamin Miller Knox County, Ohio, United States July 30, 2016 Details
July 27, 2016 mellielong Lincoln County, West Virginia, United States July 28, 2016 Details
July 23, 2016 Ron Smith Clarion County, Pennsylvania, United States July 28, 2016 Details
July 26, 2016 Ron Smith Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, United States July 28, 2016 Details
July 24, 2016 dendroica5 Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States July 27, 2016 Details
July 26, 2016 monikawood Tioga County, Pennsylvania, United States July 27, 2016 Details
July 02, 2016 ncrosbyrd Mono County, California, United States July 26, 2016 Details
May 30, 2016 N Weasel Santa Clara County, California, United States July 26, 2016 Details
June 15, 2016 N Weasel Santa Clara County, California, United States July 26, 2016 Details
July 24, 2016 digginflowers Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States July 25, 2016 Details
July 23, 2016 Mluna25 Queens County, New York, United States July 23, 2016 Details
July 21, 2016 hmclin York County, Pennsylvania, United States July 22, 2016 Details
July 21, 2016 johngor Ontario, Canada July 21, 2016 Details
July 19, 2016 digginflowers Adams County, Pennsylvania, United States July 21, 2016 Details
July 07, 2016 Mary Franceline Malone Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States July 20, 2016 Details
April 30, 2016 Sherbutter Lee County, Florida, United States July 19, 2016 Details
July 17, 2016 breck7348 Sacramento County, California, United States July 19, 2016 Details