Monarch Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758)    
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Arthropoda   >   Class Insecta   >   Order Lepidoptera   >   Family Nymphalidae   >   Genus Danaus   

Status:

The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is one of the most celebrated and recognizable insects in North America. This large butterfly is a powerful flier, and certain populations are generational migrants, spending the winter at protected forest sites in the highlands of Mexico. The following spring, the ones that hibernated migrate north, and over several generations, breeding as they move north, the species spreads over most of North America as far north as southern Canada for the summer. This species cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, so the entire population (millions of individuals) migrates south in autumn. Some individuals make it all the way to Mexico (Brock & Kaufman, 2003).

Description:

Unmistakable. The Viceroy is a Monarch mimic but with practice the two species can easily be separated. The black line that bisects the hindwings on a Viceroy is diagnostic for Viceroy and is never present in Monarchs.

Where to find:

During the summer Monarchs can be quite conspicuous as they search for stands of milkweed on which to lay their eggs. Towards the middle of September Monarch numbers will begin to rise as they begin their southern migration. Large numbers can be viewed migrating during early northerly fronts. On cool fall morning mass numbers of Monarchs can occasionally be observed at the tips of peninsulas like Pt. Lookout and Black Walnut Point hanging from the trees as they wait for the sun to warm them so they can continue on their migration south.

Relationships:

Completely reliant on milkweeds, especially Common Milkweed. Also uses Butterfly Weed.

There are 1,153 records in the project database.

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Migrant Monarchs at Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (10/19/2014). Photo by Mikey Lutmerding. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Frederick Co., Maryland (10/2/2016). Photo by Andy Wilson. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Baltimore Co., Maryland (8/19/2014). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/22/2005). Photo by Bill Vanko. (MBP list)

A Monarch found in Kent Co., Maryland (9/30/2007). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Howard Co., Maryland (9/13/2015). Photo by Kevin Heffernan. (MBP list)

A Monarch at Patterson Park in Baltimore City, Maryland (8/9/2014). Photo by Mike Hudson. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Baltimore Co., Maryland (8/19/2014). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A recently emerged Monarch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (7/28/2019). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)

Monarch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/25/2015). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Monarch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/14/2013). (c) botanygirl, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by botanygirl via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Cecil Co., Maryland (8/31/2015). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/8/2012). Photo by Kerry Wixted. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar at Fort Smallwood Park, Maryland (9/2/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Monarch in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/5/2016). Photo by Bob Spicer. (MBP list)

Monarch in Howard Co., Maryland (6/16/2015). (c) Jim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jim via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Monarch in Harford Co., Maryland (8/29/2020). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Cecil Co., Maryland (8/26/2017). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Howard Co., Maryland (9/11/2017). Photo by Kevin Heffernan. (MBP list)

Monarch in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/3/2020). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Monarch chrysalis in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/19/2010). Photo by Kerry Wixted. (MBP list)

A Monarch pupa in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/14/2018). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)

A Monarch chrysalis in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (8/11/2014). Photo by Brandon Woo. (MBP list)

A Monarch chrysalis in Cecil Co., Maryland (8/26/2017). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

A Monarch chrysalis in Cecil Co., Maryland (8/26/2017). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

Monarch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/30/2020). (c) Timothy Reichard, all rights reserved. Photo by Timothy Reichard. (MBP list)

A Monarch egg in Carroll Co., Maryland (7/9/2014). Photo by Anna Letaw. (MBP list)

A Monarch egg in Harford Co., Maryland (9/3/2017). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A first instar Monarch caterpillar in Carroll Co., Maryland (7/9/2014). Photo by Anna Letaw. (MBP list)

A freshly eclosed Monarch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/13/2020). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)

A Monarch larva (left), and the same as a pupa (right) one day later, in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/16/2020). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)

Monarch in Worcester Co., Maryland (7/2/2019). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Howard Co., Maryland (8/20/2017). Photo by Anthony VanSchoor. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar preparing to pupate in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/16/2020). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)

Monarch in Baltimore City, Maryland (9/26/2020). (c) gkh010, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by gkh010 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Monarch in Caroline Co., Maryland (7/25/2014). (c) 116916927065934112165, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA). Photo by Matt Muir via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Monarch in Garrett Co., Maryland (8/3/2020). (c) tomfeild, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Tom Feild. (MBP list)

A Monarch caterpillar in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/26/2020). (c) Katja Schulz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Katja Schulz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Monarch chrysalis in Garrett Co., Maryland (9/12/2018). Photo by Mark Eanes. (MBP list)

A parasitized Monarch chrysalis in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/30/2018). Photo by David Illig. (MBP list)


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