Danaus plexippus or Danaus erippus?
The Monarch is closely related to two very similar species which formed the Danaus (Danaus) subgenus before 2005. The first is the Jamaican monarch (D. cleophile) from Jamaica and Hispaniola. The second is the southern monarch (D. erippus), of South America south of the Amazon river. The southern monarch is almost indistinguishable from the Monarch as an adult, though the pupae are somewhat different, and is often considered a subspecies of the Monarch proper.
The Monarch can be found in a wide range of habitats such as fields, meadows, prairie remnants, urban and suburban parks, gardens, trees, and roadsides. It overwinters in conifer groves.
Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis. But no single individual makes the entire round trip. Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation of the summer enters into a non-reproductive phase known as diapause and may live seven months or more. During diapause, butterflies fly to one of many overwintering sites. The generation that overwinters generally does not reproduce until it leaves the overwintering site sometime in February and March.
Lat: -0.05, Long: -78.78
Spotted on Jul 16, 2011
Submitted on Jun 28, 2012