Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Male. Taken at Huerta Grande, Spain, on November 4th 2016.
(1/480th sec at f2.2. Approx 1.25x lifesize)
Larva. Taken on Madeira on March 5th 2008.
Pupa. Taken on Madeira on March 5th 2008.
Roosting adults. Taken at Natural Bridges State Beach, California on October 17th 1994.
© David Hastings
DescriptionWing span: 105 - 115 mm
This species is the largest butterfly seen in the British Isles, and is also one of our rarest migrants.
The Monarch is a north American species, but it has colonised the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira and southern Spain.
It can be found in a variety of habitats.
It is more or less continuously brooded in warm climates.
In north America the larvae feed on milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) In the Canary Islands and the Azores they feed on Asclepias curassavica and several plants native to Africa.
The Monarch is renowned for the amazing migrations it makes in north America, where the population moves southwards for a distance of over 2000 miles to its winter sites in California and Mexico, before returning north the following spring.