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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Danaus plexippus - Danaus_plexippusKsGrantSept24-08CarolAdams-crop.jpg

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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
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Bergen County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Burlington County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Camden County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cape May County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Essex County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Hudson County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Mercer County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Morris County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Ocean County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Passaic County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Salem County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Somerset County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Sussex County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Union County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Warren County, New Jersey, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Sullivan County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Coos County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Carroll County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cullman County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cleburne County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Calhoun County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cherokee County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Macon County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter DeKalb County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Hale County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Jackson County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Jefferson County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Madison County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Montgomery County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Carroll County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Arkansas County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Benton County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Boone County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Clay County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Crawford County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details
January 01, 1950 legacy.reporter Cleburne County, Arkansas, United States December 31, 2004 Details