Monarch Butterfly
( Danaus plexippus )


2014-0614-01100112-LEP00030-Danaus_plexippus[1206h29s,F,A,plant-flower-milkweed]{JRyugo}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Danaus plexippus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name:Monarch Butterfly
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Lepidoptera
Family:Nymphalidae
Subfamily:Danainae
Tribe:Danaini
Genus:Danaus
Taxon Code:LEP00030
ITIS TSN#:117273

LOCATION DETAILS
Location
Gardens at Lake Merritt, Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue, Oakland
County:Alameda County
ECI Site#:CA01100110

RECOGNITION
Wingspan
8.6-12.4 cm
Colors
Mostly orange with black wing borders and veins. Body, legs and antennae black. Thorax with white spots.

BIOLOGY
The adults make mass migrations from August-October, flying to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. At the wintering sites in Mexico, the butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. They leave for the north in the spring, and females lay eggs along the way. The females lay eggs singly on the leaves of the milkweeds (Asclepias); caterpillars eat the leaves and flowers
Food
Adults take nectar from a variety of flowers
Host
The caterpillars feed on plants in the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae [or Apocynaceae in part]), primarily Milkweeds (Asclepias), but also other genera including Calotropis, Cynanchum, Gonolobus, Sarcostemma, etc
Habitat
Open areas with flowers, hostplant
Range
Much of temperate North America into tropics and much of South America. Also some islands in Pacific, Australia (introduced?). Highly migratory

HABITAT
Open areas with flowers, hostplant

CREDITS
Photographer
Jim Ryugo

REFERENCES
  • Species Danaus plexippus - Monarch - Hodges#4614. (http://bugguide.net/node/view/540). Accessed March 12, 2016. [ IMAGES ]
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System TSN#117273


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