Animalia > Arthropoda > Insecta > Lepidoptera > Papilionoidea > Nymphalidae > Danaus > Danaus plexippus

Danaus plexippus (Monarch Butterfly)

Synonyms: Euploea curassavicae; Papilio misippiformis

Wikipedia Abstract

The monarch butterfly or simply monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. Other common names depending on region include Milkweed, Common Tiger, Wanderer, and Black Veined Brown. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly, and is considered an iconic pollinator species.
View Wikipedia Record: Danaus plexippus



Litter Size [1]  663
Migration [2]  Intercontinental
Wing Span [3]  3.5 inches (.09 m)

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Badlands National Park II 178535 South Dakota, United States
Calamocarro-Benzú 1487 Spain  
Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve 90 Michigan, United States
Carlsbad Caverns National Park II 15448 New Mexico, United States
Fenland 1529 England, United Kingdom
Morecambe Bay 151985 England, United Kingdom
Pen Llyn a`r Sarnau/ Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau 360832 Wales, United Kingdom
Western Michigan University's Asylum Lake Preserve 274 Michigan, United States

Emblem of

North Carolina
West Virginia

Prey / Diet

Apocynum androsaemifolium (flytrap dogbane)[4]
Araujia sericifera (moth plant)[4]
Asclepias amplexicaulis (clasping milkweed)[4]
Asclepias asperula (antelope horns)[4]
Asclepias californica (California milkweed)[4]
Asclepias cordifolia (heartleaf milkweed)[4]
Asclepias curassavica (bloodflower)[4]
Asclepias curtissii (Curtiss' milkweed)[4]
Asclepias eriocarpa (woollypod milkweed)[5]
Asclepias erosa (desert milkweed)[5]
Asclepias exaltata (poke milkweed)[5]
Asclepias fascicularis (narrowleaf milkweed)[5]
Asclepias humistrata (pinewoods milkweed)[5]
Asclepias incarnata (rose milkweed)[5]
Asclepias lanceolata (fewflower milkweed)[5]
Asclepias longifolia (longleaf milkweed)[5]
Asclepias nivea (Caribbean milkweed)[5]
Asclepias obovata (pineland milkweed)[5]
Asclepias oenotheroides (zizotes milkweed)[5]
Asclepias perennis (aquatic milkweed)[5]
Asclepias purpurascens (Purple milkweed)[5]
Asclepias rubra (Red milkweed)[5]
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)[5]
Asclepias subulata (Rush milkweed)[5]
Asclepias subverticillata (poison milkweed)[5]
Asclepias sullivantii (prairie milkweed)[5]
Asclepias syriaca (broadleaf milkweed)[6]
Asclepias tomentosa (tuba milkweed)[5]
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly milkweed)[5]
Asclepias variegata (redring milkweed)[5]
Asclepias verticillata (eastern whorled milkweed)[5]
Asclepias vestita (woolly milkweed)[5]
Asclepias viridiflora (Green comet milkweed)[5]
Asclepias viridis (green antelopehorn)[5]
Bidens laevis (bur-marigold)[5]
Callistemon citrinus[5]
Calotropis gigantea (giant milkweed)[6]
Calotropis procera (roostertree)[5]
Ceropegia intermedia[5]
Cirsium vulgare (Spear Thistle)[5]
Citharexylum berlandieri (berlandier fiddlewood)[5]
Conoclinium betonicifolium (betonyleaf thoroughwort)[5]
Cordia boissieri (anacahuite)[5]
Cynanchum acutum[5]
Cynanchum laeve (climbing milkweed)[5]
Dictyanthus reticulatus (netted milkvine)[5]
Gomphocarpus cancellatus[7]
Gomphocarpus fruticosus[8]
Gomphocarpus physocarpus[6]
Gonolobus rostratus[5]
Hoehneophytum trixoides (Mexican flamevine)[5]
Hoheria populnea (Lacebark)[5]
Leptadenia reticulata (butterflyweed)[6]
Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo)[5]
Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)[5]
Orbea variegata[5]
Oxypetalum caeruleum <Unverified Name>[8]
Oxypetalum coeruleum[5]
Plumbago zeylanica (wild leadwort)[5]
Roldana petasitis (velvet groundsel)[5]
Schinus molle (false pepper)[8]
Solidago sempervirens (Seaside Goldenrod)[5]
Stapelia grandiflora (Carrion Plant)[5]
Trixis inula (tropical threefold)[5]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Amphipyra tragopoginis (mouse)1
Apis mellifera (honey bee)1
Archilochus colubris (Ruby-throated Hummingbird)1
Arocatus rusticus2
Battus philenor (pipevine swallowtail)1
Colias philodice (clouded sulphur)1
Danaus chrysippus (Plain Tiger)5
Nymphalis antiopa (camberwell beauty)1
Papilio glaucus (Eastern tiger swallowtail)1
Papilio polyxenes (Eastern black swallowtail)1
Sphecius speciosus (cicada killer)1
Xylotoles griseus1


Icterus abeillei (Black-backed Oriole)[9]
Ochetellus glaber (black house ant)[5]
Peromyscus melanotis (black-eared mouse)[10]
Pheucticus melanocephalus (Black-headed Grosbeak)[9]


Parasite of 
Gomphocarpus fruticosus (Arizona milkweed)[5]
Gomphocarpus physocarpus (balloonplant)[5]


Parasitized by 
Buquetia obscura[5]
Chaetogaedia monticola[5]
Compsilura concinnata (Tachina fly)[5]
Exorista mella[5]
Lespesia archippivora[5]
Madremyia saundersii[5]
Phryxe pecosensis[5]
Phryxe vulgaris[5]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Zoo de Santillana y Parque Cuaternario


New Zealand (Alien); Western Michigan University’s Asylum Lake;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Body size, egg size, and their interspecific relationships with ecological and life history traits in butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea, Hesperioidea), Enrique García-Barros, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2000), 70: 251–284
2Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
3BUTTERFLIES OF AUCKLAND, D.R. Cowley and J.M. Cowley, TANE 29, 1983, pp. 181-192
4HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
5Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
6Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
7Species Interactions of Australia Database, Atlas of Living Australia, Version ala-csv-2012-11-19
8New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Plant-SyNZ™ database
9"Antipredator Adaptations by Monarch Butterflies", Kim A. Pike
10Peromyscus melanotis, Sergio Ticul Alvarez-Castaneda, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 764, pp. 1–4 (2005)
Protected Areas provided by Badlands National Park
Natura 2000, UK data: © Crown copyright and database right [2010] All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100017955
Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
GBIF Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Western Michigan University’s Asylum Lake
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access