Photo by Melody

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Nymphalidae (nim-FAL-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Danaus (DAN-ay-us) (Info)
Species: plexippus


15 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Barling, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Canoga Park, California
Fairfax, California
Newark, California
Pacific Grove, California (2 reports)
Pismo Beach, California
San Diego, California
San Simeon, California
Clifton, Colorado
Bear, Delaware
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Citra, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Largo, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Weston, Florida
Winter Garden, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Demorest, Georgia
Griffin, Georgia
Mableton, Georgia
Rincon, Georgia
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Algonquin, Illinois
Anna, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Chester, Illinois
Davis Junction, Illinois
Divernon, Illinois
Galva, Illinois
La Grange Park, Illinois
Niles, Illinois
Rock Falls, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Bluffton, Indiana
Coatesville, Indiana
Greentown, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Atalissa, Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Owensboro, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Hammond, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Durham, Maine
Skowhegan, Maine
South China, Maine
Crofton, Maryland
Fallston, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Oakland, Maryland
Assonet, Massachusetts
Halifax, Massachusetts
Malden, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Bark River, Michigan
Central Lake, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Wayzata, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska (2 reports)
Hudson, New Hampshire
Marlton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Roswell, New Mexico
Claverack, New York
Henrietta, New York
Himrod, New York
Poughkeepsie, New York
Rego Park, New York
West Babylon, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Red Oak, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Kellyville, Oklahoma
Gold Hill, Oregon
Alexandria, Pennsylvania
Middleburg, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2 reports)
Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Pocahontas, Tennessee
Abilene, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Keller, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
Mission, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Pipe Creek, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Smiley, Texas
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Terrell, Texas
Charlottesville, Virginia
Jonesville, Virginia
Penhook, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Altoona, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Ranchester, Wyoming

By okus
Thumbnail #1 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by okus

By okus

Thumbnail #2 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by okus

By Sheila_FW

Thumbnail #3 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by Sheila_FW

By Magpye

Thumbnail #4 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by Magpye

By Vee8ch

Thumbnail #5 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by Vee8ch

By Vee8ch

Thumbnail #6 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by Vee8ch

By Vee8ch

Thumbnail #7 of Monarch (Danaus  plexippus) by Vee8ch

There are a total of 165 photos.
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Member Notes:

Positive okus On Jul 24, 2006, okus from
(Zone 8b) wrote:

Above bright burnt-orange with black veins and black margins sprinkled with white dots. Below paler duskier orange.

The similar Viceroy is smaller with shorter wings. The Queen and Tropic Queen are browner and smaller.

Neutral Joan On Jul 31, 2006, Joan from Belfield, ND
(Zone 4a) wrote:

The monarch butterfly is sometimes called the milkweed butterfly because its larvae eat the plant. In fact, milkweed is the only thing the larvae can eat!

Adult female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves. These eggs hatch, depending on temperature, in three to twelve days.

The larvae feed on the plant leaves for about two weeks and develop into caterpillars about 2 inches long.

After awhile, the caterpillars attach themselves head down to a convenient twig, they shed their outer skin and begin the transformation into a pupa (or chrysalis), a process which is completed in a matter of hours.

The pupa resembles a waxy, jade vase and becomes increasingly transparent as the process progresses. The caterpillar completes the miraculous transformation into a beautiful adult butterfly in about two weeks.

The butterfly finally emerges from the now transparent chrysalis.

It inflates its wings with a pool of blood it has stored in its abdomen. When this is done, the monarch expels any excess fluid and rests.

The butterfly waits until its wings stiffen and dry before it flies away to start the cycle of life all over again.

Most predators have learned that the monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack. The toxins from the monarch's milkweed diet have given the butterfly this defense. In either the caterpillar or butterfly stage the monarch needs no camouflage because it takes in toxins from the milkweed and is poisonous to predators. Many animals advertise their poisonous nature with bright colors... just like the monarch!

Positive plantladyhou On Sep 12, 2006, plantladyhou from Katy, TX
(Zone 8b) wrote:

I raise Butterfly weed just for the Monarchs and their caterpillers. The plants are unobtrusive but the butterflies are a joy. Their offspring aren't hurting anything and I will not allow them to be killed. The butterfly weed quickly grows back and the cycle is repeated.

Positive Sheila965 On Oct 23, 2006, Sheila965 from Rincon, GA
(Zone 8a) wrote:

I've got one Monarch that visits my butterfly bushes daily. She seems to love the light purple ones!

Positive Marilynbeth On Nov 22, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

I'm always thrilled to see a Monarch Butterfly and its Cats. Beautiful!

Positive blossombloom On Dec 2, 2006, blossombloom from Griffin, GA wrote:

The Monarchs I've seen around here are huge. Is this the same or a different kind? I adore all butterflies. Over the summer we half screened our porch, (not on purpose mind you) and you should have seen all the butterflies that I had to rescue and let them fly away out of the palm of my hand. I was very careful because their wings are very fragile and will tear if touched. I am happy to say that there was no injuries in the process of the mission.

Positive mamapajama On Apr 20, 2007, mamapajama from Poughkeepsie, NY wrote:

These butterflies are lovely ! My son and I raised some from caterpilars last summer, we can't wait to do this again. Thinking of tagging the released butterflies to track them Please leave any milkweed plants in your garden -only plant the cats will eat. Interesting fact -you can tell a male Monarch from a female by the presence of 2 black dots on the wings.

Positive Malus2006 On Feb 13, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN
(Zone 4a) wrote:

Tend to pop up here about July in Minnesota and hang around until the first frost. Never interested in the Swamp Milkweed that I have growing in my yard.

Here's some interesting facts - In the 1840s they were found in Hawaii, then 1850s through 1860s they were found on most South Pacific Islands, then in the early 1870s they were found on Australia and New Zealand. Interesting to know - they most likely were aided by humans - also milkweed have been spreading throughout Australia and New Zealand from North America. Recently they have been found in the Canary Islands and West Europe.

Host Plants of the Monarch Butterfly
Northern Portion of Range - Eastern United States.
(I'm trying to find information on host plants in Western North America - one source said of 100s of N A Milweed species, 1/4 are known host plants - will be nice to know what other milkweed species that monarch butterflies feed on - to make them more popular in the plant trade - there is strict regulations on Common Milkweed in some regions - noxious in rural areas)
Asclepias syrica Common Milkweed is the most important host in the Northern Portion. Others are A. incarnata, Swamp Milkweed, A. tiberosa Butterfly Weed. I will try to include more less common milkweed in future references.

Of notice: Swallowwort, Vincetoxicum (recently changed from Cynanchum) of which two species are invasive in N. America fools monarch butterflies into laying eggs on them but lacks chemical defenses for them. Swallowwort are found in New England and most of the Great Lakes, some native species in the Great Plains are used as larval hosts - impacts are unknown.

South Portion of East United States through part of North -East Mexico - Most important is A. oenothroides Zizotes Milkweed, A. vividis Spider Milkweed, and A. asperuloa Antelope Horn Milkweed. Also Asclepias curassavica, Tropical Milkweed, a tropical native to S. America is often used for host plants and to attract monarch butterflies by southern gardeners.

There is also a subspecies in West Central South America. There is very little information on Monarch butterflies that live in Central America and 1/2 of South America.

Positive aggscott On Apr 23, 2008, aggscott from Wilkes Barre, PA
(Zone 6a) wrote:

What a great butterfly these are! My favorite! I released over 200 healthy Monarchs last year and tagged over 50 of them.

Help the Monarchs and plant Milkweed

Positive twopuppies On May 12, 2008, twopuppies from Chester, IL wrote:

Seems early, I have no milkweed but had a female monarch the last three days in April- a well worn female feeding on henbit flowers- ws still there(or another one) first couple days of may!

Positive rampbrat On Aug 3, 2008, rampbrat from Abilene, TX
(Zone 7b) wrote:

We're on their migration route (through West Central TX) in the fall. When my sons were young and played soccer, I was often distracted from the games by the 100' s of monarchs in the air. I try to keep fall flowers in the yard, like mums,coreopsis, and asters just for the monarchs.

Positive SusanLouise On Jan 28, 2009, SusanLouise from Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b) wrote:

I watched the fall migration of the Monarch on Sept 24th 2008...I counted 131 Monarchs fly over our house....I was in complete awe! :)

Positive LouC On Jul 17, 2009, LouC from Desoto, TX
(Zone 8a) wrote:

Some time ago, Oct. 2005, I witnessed a miracle. Standing in my backyard near dusk I noticed something falling from the sky (?) like leaves. Stood very still and watched as literally thousands of Monarchs decended and covered everything in my yard and my neighbors yard. Began to call for others to come look and be very respectful as we were standing on Holy Ground. This was before I had any kind of flower or host plants. They were just resting as they traveled to Marioposa, Mexico. Too much to expect it to ever happen again.


Positive napolemj On Dec 16, 2009, napolemj from Winter Garden, FM
(Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm a bit confused. I have been raising 6 Monarch larvae since early December (they are now in their pupa stage), and I am positive these are Monarchs and not Queens. I had always read that Monarchs leave Central Florida for the Mexican fir forests by winter. Why are there still Monarchs here?

Positive tlm1 On Aug 3, 2012, tlm1 from Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I so miss having these in my garden! All of my Milkweeds have gone due to changes in the gardens, and they have certainly been the "GO TO" for the Monarchs…They will be one of the first additions back into the new bed!

Neutral Chillybean On Aug 22, 2014, Chillybean from Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a) wrote:

This year we are seeing more Monarchs than ever. Maybe because people are becoming more aware of their needs and are helping them along?? One thing that will help this butterfly is NOT plant a butterfly bush. This only feeds the adults, but it is not suitable for their caterpillars. Plant milkweed. It doesn't have to be Common, there are different varieties that are not quite as enthusiastic about spreading. And do not spray the plants even if you see other bugs on them.

We have plenty of Common Milkweed in our pasture, but adult Monarchs will also feed on our Blazing Stars.

Why the neutral rating among all the positives? They are nice and yes, they need our help, but I find other butterflies equally as fascinating. :)

Positive nan7valleys On Jan 13, 2015, nan7valleys from Seven Valleys, PA wrote:

RE: Opposed to Putting Monarch Butterfly on Endangered Species List

To my friends who understand my passion for gardening and fight against herbicides:

Milkweed should be on the endangered species list - not Monarchs! PLEASE BE AWARE -- if this ruling is approved, schools and backyard gardeners like myself would be restricted from collecting and protecting eggs and cocoons. After much research and reading over the last two years, especially Fast Track Butterfly Gardening by Rose Franklin, I have nurtured a plot of milkweed plants, (and host plants for other species), increased my number of nectar plants, successfully reared 17 Monarchs out of 17 eggs on my first attempt, ( a success rate unachievable in the wild) and developed interest and excitement in numerous friends and neighbors to join the effort to assist and foster Monarch migration through our area. I dispersed milkweed seed to neighborhood children, asking them to plant them in uncultivated spots in our area and enlisted them into my "butterfly club". They are so excited to watch our caterpillars and chrysalis turn into lovely butterflies to release into the neighborhood. The number of Monarchs and other species has increased tremendously just in the short time I have been passionate about this project. Even as an avid gardener for over 40 years I was amazingly ignorant of habitat and feeding needs of this and other species. The answer is education. As individuals, nurseries and gardening clubs spread the word about the importance of milkweed and not using pesticides and herbicides, we can start a nationwide awareness campaign to foster healthy populations of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds! Please, don't make it harder for us to ignite this passion! Pass the word....!docketDetail;D=FWS-R3-ES-2014-0...

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