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Monarch Monarch

Photos © Kim Hosen
Top - Calvert County, MD; June 2009
1st row - Merrimac Farm; August 2005
1st row right (caterpillar) - Merrimac Farm WMA; August 2014

2nd row - Suburban backyard; August 2010

2nd row right © Brian Smith

Below © Kim Hosen, Hilton Head Island; May 2014

Monarch Monarch

Danaus pexlippus
Wingspan: 3 3/8 to 4 7/8 inches

The Monarch is a large butterfly with orange wings and black veins. Watch for the Monarch's strong wing beat in flight, or v-shaped sailing posture.

Monarch habitat includes fields, meadows, roadsides and marshes where they nectar on milkweed, dogbane, thistle, goldenrod and tickseed sunflower.

In autumn, Monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds to warmer climates. This well known butterfly is threatened by deforestation of overwintering areas in Mexico and fragmentation of summer habitats in the U.S.

The host plants of the Monarch caterpillar are the milkweed (Asclelpius) family.