Danaus plexippus, Monarch

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Danaus plexippus, Monarch

Freshly emerged adult female

Description: 45-53 mm. This species is unmistakable. The monarch is a large orange butterfly with black veination and margins that glides along in flight in open areas. Males have a black spot on each hindwing. Females veination is thicker than in the males.

 

Habitat and Distribution: All of the Keys. This species is highly migratory and although they breed in South Florida, are more easily found in the fall as northern populations are migrating south through the Keys on their way to Mexico. 

 

Host Plant: Milkweed (Asclepias sps.)

 

Natural History: The monarch is perhaps the most well loved and and studied butterflies in the world due to its migratory habits and its large handsome appearance. This species has breeding colonies in the West Indies as well that have a white colored spots on the forewing (Danaus plexippus megalippe). this subspecies has been taken in Key West and Key Largo.

 

Danaus plexippus, Monarch

Freshly emerged adult female

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Species Pages

Danaus plexippus, Monarch egg

Egg

Danaus plexippus, Monarch larva

Final instar larva

Danaus plexippus, Monarch larva

Final instar larva

Danaus plexippus, Monarch pupa

Chrysalis

Danaus plexippus, Monarch pupa

Chrysalis

Danaus plexippus, Monarch

Freshly emerged adult male