Monarch
Danaus plexippus

Size:
Wingspan is 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches.

Similar Species:

Viceroy
Queen
(coastal or stray inland)
Soldier (coastal stray)


Habitat:
All types of habitats including gardens, fields, coast lines, power line clearings, roadsides, ridge tops, woodland borders and savannas.

Range/Abundance:
Common to abundant and widespread in the entire region in late summer and fall. Uncommon to rare in the spring.

Flight Period:
Adults fly from early April until early November in several broods with gaps between broods. They migrate from the south in the spring and from the north in the fall.

Larval Host Plants:
Milkweeds including Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca, Swamp Milkweed A. incarnata and Butterflyweed A. tuberosa

Comments:
The Monarch is the most famous butterfly in the USA, perhaps the world. To a casual observer, any large butterfly might be called a Monarch

The Viceroy mimics the Monarch so birds won't eat it. The Monarch soars or floats in flight where the Viceroy is faster and has rapid wing beats. The easiest way to tell them apart is the Monarch has white spots all over its thorax and head.

Migrates from Mexico into the US in the spring and several generations later the offspring returns to Mexico.

The top photo was taken at the Carolina Pavilion Butterfly House in Durham, NC. The second and third photos were taken in my garden in Orange Co,. NC during the summer of 2002. The fourth photo was taken in Clermont Co., OH on August 27, 2003. The bottom photo was taken at the Green Bottoms Wildlife Management Area in Cabell Co., WV on August 27, 2002.

 

Start > Species List > Monarchs >

Start > Species List > Monarchs > Monarch
Monarch, Danaus plexippus
Female on vitex.
Mouse over the above image to see identification marks.
Monarch, Danaus plexippus
Male on zinnia.
Mouse over the above image to see identification marks.
Monarch,  Danaus plexippus
Monarch on Tropical Milkweed.
Monarch,  Danaus plexippus
Monarch on New York Ironweed.
Monarch,  Danaus plexippus
Monarch on thistle.

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