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:
1. All records (yellow dots)   2. Recently verified records (orange dots)*   3. US county records (purple)

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*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.

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Observation Datesort icon Submitter Region Verified Date
January 01, 1894 legacy.reporter (unknown) Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1896 legacy.reporter (Sturgis) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1902 legacy.reporter (Wood) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1903 legacy.reporter (Wood) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1905 legacy.reporter (Winkley) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1906 legacy.reporter (Britton) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1906 legacy.reporter (Leonard) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1914 legacy.reporter (Zappe) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1919 legacy.reporter (unknown) Windham County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
October 15, 1920 legacy.reporter (J. A. Comstock) Los Angeles County, California, United States January 04, 2010 Details
January 01, 1925 legacy.reporter (Burdick) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
June 12, 1930 legacy.reporter (L. Martin, C. ingham) Fresno County, California, United States January 04, 2010 Details
August 30, 1930 legacy.reporter (L. Martin, C. ingham) Fresno County, California, United States January 04, 2010 Details
January 01, 1932 legacy.reporter (unknown) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
August 08, 1932 legacy.reporter Pemiscot County, Missouri, United States March 12, 2007 Details
July 23, 1933 legacy.reporter (John S. Garth) Mariposa County, California, United States January 04, 2010 Details
October 30, 1935 legacy.reporter (A. Stupka) Swain County, North Carolina, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1936 legacy.reporter (unknown) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
October 09, 1936 legacy.reporter (A. Stupka) Swain County, North Carolina, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1937 legacy.reporter (Starrett) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
June 01, 1937 legacy.reporter (A. Stupka) Swain County, North Carolina, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1938 legacy.reporter (Starrett) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
November 05, 1938 legacy.reporter (A. Stupka) Swain County, North Carolina, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1940 legacy.reporter (Starrett) Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1941 legacy.reporter (Epstein) Tolland County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1941 legacy.reporter (Sanford) Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1941 legacy.reporter (unknown) Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
June 30, 1941 legacy.reporter (John S. Garth) Mono County, California, United States January 04, 2010 Details
January 01, 1946 legacy.reporter (unknown) Tolland County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
January 01, 1949 legacy.reporter (unknown) New Haven County, Connecticut, United States May 01, 2011 Details
August 08, 1949 legacy.reporter (J. W. Tilden) Santa Clara County, California, United States October 15, 2009 Details
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