Entomology Collection TitleImage Bugs Pinned
Species Page - Danaus plexippus
Danaus plexippus ->species page

E-mail this Page   
Print this Page   
Link to this Page   

scientific name    Danaus plexippus    (Linnaeus)

common name     Monarch

habitat
Most likely to be encountered in the southern prairie grasslands.

seasonality
Migrants reach southern Alberta in late May to June, offspring emerging in Aug. to Sep.

identification
The black-veined, orange upperside with a white-spotted black border is unique. The Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) though similar, has a black hindwing median line. Monarchs are easy to recognize by their distinctive leisurely, floating flight, holding their wings V-shaped above the body when gliding; Viceroys hold their wings in a flat plane when gliding, a behaviour characteristic of the genus Limenitis.

life history
Migrants from the southern US appear in the spring, and lay eggs on a number of milkweed species, particularly along prairie river valleys. Larvae are like no other in Alberta, boldly banded with alternating black, white and yellow stripes. There are two long, black fleshy 'horns' near the front and rear. Pupae are bright blue-green with golden spots. This is undoubtedly one of the most familiar butterflies in North America, and much research has been carried out on its ecology and remarkble migration. Surprisingly, the Monarch's wintering grounds in Mexico were not discovered until 1975, largely as a result of the research efforts of Fred Urquhart (Layberry et al. 1998). Almost all of the North American Monarchs overwinter in a handful of sites in the Mexican highlands, and conservation efforts for this species are largely dependent on the welfare of these sites. For more detailed accounts of the Monarch's ecology, see Brower (1995) and references therein.

conservation
The Monarch is of special concern in Canada (COSEWIC 2002).

diet info
The main larval host in Alberta is Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), and larvae have also been recorded on A. ovalifolia in Edmonton (Bird et al. 1995). Adults prefer nectaring at milkweed flowers and composites (Klassen et al. 1989).

range
Globally widespread, with the centre of the range in North America from BC east to Newfoundland, north to the southern NWT south to Argentina (Layberry et al 1998).

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=2854



Comments (0)Add New Comment

Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.

Add New Comment
Validation:
 

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Related Species Info
Authorship
Display Hierarchy
References (3)
Specimen Info
There are 14 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (14)

 

Logo Department of Museums and Collections ServicesLogo University of Alberta