Monarch Butterfly

A Monarch Butterfly perching on a white flower


A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar feeding on a leaf

Larva (Caterpillar)

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Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus

Size: Wingspan 90-100 mm

What does it look like?

The adult Monarch Butterfly wing is orange, with ornate pattern of thin black lines and broad black margins on each wing. Black margins heavily spotted with white. Forewings narrow and triangular. Caterpillar heavily striped black, white and yellow.

Where is it found?

Occurs in suitable areas throughout much of Australia, where it has been introduced. Mainly in the east and southeast (including eastern Tas), but also locally common in southwest WA, northern and southern NT, and north-western Qld.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Monarch Butterfly is found in a variety of wooded habitats, including gardens, where males typically establish and defend loose territories around larval food plants (mainly introduced milkweeds or dogbanes), waiting for potential female mates to pass through. Adults feed on nectar, and have slow, gliding flight.

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A Naturaliust's Guide to the Butterflies of Australia cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Australia

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