Monarch (LEP113c) Danaus plexippus


     This is our best known North American butterfly, but it still holds many mysteries.  The bright orange Monarch has black veins and borders, with white spots around the edges and peach-colored patches in the black forewing tip area.  Common milkweed is its host plant which nourishes adults and larvae, and makes the Monarch poisonous to birds.  Viceroys mimic Monarchs, so birds ignore them as well.  Monarchs breed all across North America, but in autumn they migrate like birds.  A large proportion fly to Mexico or to California, where they spend the winter in huge clusters among the foliage of trees.  In springtime they return to their breeding grounds in the North.